As Election Day 2012 nears, political campaigns will get hotter than ever before. The media (i.e. television, radio, print, the Internet) will be heavily saturated with all kinds of political ads and calls to vote for a particular candidate for office or to vote for or against an issue. Through all the political fog, the muck, and yes, the bullshit, you will need to KEEP YOUR HEAD CLEAR AND FOCUSED! Many of you are election season pros of at least ten years or more and therefore know how to maneuver your attention span around all the campaign chaos. However, for many others, particularly first-time voters, I need to stress that now is NOT the time to get so frustrated that it causes you to develop an attitude of apathy!
Probably one of the reasons for your frustration with the election campaign noise is that you haven’t yet made up your mind on how to vote next month (Tuesday, November 6). In fact, at this point on the election timeline, you should have already researched and studied the candidates and their positions and any referendum and/or proposal issues on the ballot in your area. As far as the presidential election is concerned, you really should not need three debates to help make up your mind at this point. Referendum and/or proposal issues are all online for you to further check out. You should have already registered to vote and should know, with all certainty, the location of your polling place. For you first-time voters, a polling place is the place where you are authorized to cast a vote. Most polling places are located in a nearby school or church in your community or in a local government building. Your voter registration card should have polling place information printed on the front. Read it find where that place is now!
Now, if you happened to be a little behind the rest of us in determining your eligibility to vote, it may not be too late to register. Check your state’s voter registration office to be sure. If you can’t locate voter registration card or aren’t sure if you are registered to vote, click here and follow the very easy instructions to find out!
We have to be REAL about how the American election process works – the good as well as the bad – and we need to be REAL about how we feel regarding political, social and economic issues and how each affects us – both as people and as individuals. It is very important for every vote-eligible citizen to maintain a certain focus and interest during any political campaign election season because too many Americans have apathetic views about getting involved in any electoral or issue-deciding process.
Apathy is a very harmful disease in any free and civilized society. It is the kind of thing that left unchecked can spread and eventually ruin and destroy a democracy. Apathy and apathetic citizens can adversely affect a free society. Apathy in a free society erodes the ability of a free people to decide who shall be their representative voice in government. It adversely impacts how the laws in the society shall be introduced, debated, passed or rejected or, when necessary, having such law or issues put to a vote to the general populace. Apathy causes other negative things in a society, however to put it bluntly, apathy could eventually destroy the ability of a free people to effectively govern themselves. In the most extreme cases, apathy has been known to be the very force that often paves the way for a free society to evolve itself into one ripe for control under a dictatorship.
Apathetic people have made up their minds to not take part in the election process. Apathetic citizens don’t bother to study and/or discuss the issues that could impact the community or themselves. They are also always the ones who complain and protest the loudest about what is wrong with their country and/or about the poor job some person in office is doing. While there is voter apathy, there is no such thing as an “apathetic voter” because by definition, apathetic citizens in a society have a no interest in voting in local and national elections, especially when one political party regularly has a large majority or when people feel they have little impact in influencing decisions that affect their lives. In a word, apathetic citizens do not vote. Equally unfortunate is the fact that I have heard some – but thankfully not many – members of my own ethnic group express attitudes of voter apathy. I have heard some say they don’t care very much about who’s in political office nor do they care about who’s running for office. They seem to agree with other apathetic citizens who feel people in political office can neither be believed nor trusted to look out for the interest of the constituency. Considering the history that reflects the many men and women – both white and black – who fought courageously and died to obtain the right to vote – and the right to vote freely and without harassment, I am surprised that there would be ANY Black man or woman expressing such an attitude.
If you happened to be an apathetic person reading this post, please note a few things: I respect your right to exercise apathy about things happening in America. I respect your right to choose not to study any issue or referendum placed before the citizenry for a vote. I respect your choice to not vote or participate, in any way, with any election activity. In fact, I would prefer that you NOT vote because without having sufficient knowledge of a candidate or an issue, you would, in effect, be an ignorant voter. Ignorant voters are those who could not possibly make well-informed choices with their votes. And even though the votes of those people who choose to be ignorant of things would be counted, it would be quite unfair to those people who are well-informed and who have decided to cast their votes with the hope that the candidate(s) of their choice or an issue they favored, would win. While technically no vote made is ever a wasted vote, every vote cast, be it from an informed or an ignorant person, is always advantageous to someone who needs it to win. My final plea goes to those apathetic citizens who have children voting for the first time. As a parent, I would ask that you refrain from expressing any views of apathy to your sons and daughters. Let them make their own decisions and choices in each election period and please allow them to enjoy their constitutional right to vote. Remember, a good parent does not intentionally give any negative advice or influences to his/her children.
Now, I urge you all to roll with the campaign noise and chaos a bit longer! As of this writing, there is less than three weeks until the election. All of it will be over soon enough and when it is, there will be another form of noise to fill the void. Trust me.
I hope to see you at the polls Tuesday, November 6!