Uncle Sam Wants You!
To Vote this November
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 16:10
Yes, it’s that time of year, folks: Voting season. With the countdown to Election day hovering right around a month, we citizens are getting bombarded with political advertisements left and right. You can’t watch a TV show anymore without hearing from your president, your senator’s challenger or even from politicians in another state that you can’t even vote for.
People in America tend to split on their opinion of politics. Many people enjoy governmental issues, and dive right into all of the hype and excitement surrounding election season. There’s another group of people who are the complete opposite – the ones who are constantly fed up with the government not being able to accomplish anything and think that all politicians are evil. And, of course, there is the third group. The one stuck in the middle – pulled neither towards passion nor disgust for politics.
No matter where you stand on that spectrum, you should be standing at the polls come Nov. 6. I don’t care how “fed up” you are with the government. I don’t care how much you “think all politicians are liars.” I don’t care how much you “don’t care about the election.”
Contrary to popular belief, voting is not simply a “privilege” of living in a democracy. Nor is it a “right” guaranteed to us by the Constitution. No, voting is no less than our duty as citizens. We Americans, who so cherish our freedom, cannot stand by and expect that freedom to always remain ours. We must maintain that freedom, do whatever we can to preserve it, and take an active role in ensuring its longevity.
They didn’t understand that in ancient Rome. That country, greatest of ancient powers, was brought down by its own citizens. Rome, though it started out as a republic – just like the United States – it eventually disintegrated into an empire, before finally crumbling from the inside. Now, for those of you who actually listened during American History back in high school, you will know that America established a republic in order to banish all chances of an emperor rising to power.
And yet, even the establishment of a republic cannot promise that, as the Romans showed. When the populace started becoming apathetic towards politics, when they began paying more attention to the battles in the Coliseum than the battles on the floor of the Senate, when they began shirking all of their civic duties, their republic crumbled beneath them.
So if you think your vote doesn’t matter, if you think the government is stupid, if you think that politics don’t affect your life, go ask someone in China what they think about voting. Hop in your time machine and head back to Soviet Russia, ask those citizens how they feel about not having a say in their own government. Heck, why don’t you go all the way back to 1776 and ask the founding fathers just what they were thinking when they gave you the right, the privilege, the responsibility to vote.
And then, when you’ve done all that, the only question left to ask yourself is, “Who am I voting for this year?”
Nathan is a senior majoring in landscape architecture. Follow him on twitter @nwstottler.