When people who vote try to encourage others to vote, they often use the old saw "people died for your right to vote". That's true - people have died to protect liberties such as the freedom of speech, assembly, religion and democracy.

I believe that was their choice, in most instances. I'm grateful for the sacrifices they have made. But it's not why I vote.

In the United States, anyone 18 years of age or older has the right to vote, as long as they register to do so. I believe that being a citizen of a country, especially if the country is a democratic one, requires that one participate in the system of governance to the best of their ability. The easiest, simplest form of participation is voting in all elections whether they are local, state and/or federal.

With the right to vote comes the responsibility to become as well informed as possible on the issues to be voted upon. Just voting for the sake of voting - which is what the "people died for your right" speech means to me, is irresponsible.

It's easier now than it has ever been to become well informed on a candidate's position - where they stand on the issues of the day. Every candidate and party has a website where they post their position papers. You can also utilize websites that are independent of the candidates and their party affiliations. The independent websites help you compare and contrast the candidates, usually in a balanced and fair manner. You can watch C-SPAN or the debates on local issues on your local television channels. You can read the newspapers. You can attend town meetings.

The voters have to go beyond the rhetoric and mudslinging. Ignore the silly and occasionally stupid 30-second sound bites and uncover what each candidate is really offering us in the way of service.

To me, the act of voting is similar to hiring a new employee. I think each candidate, whether it's for the office of Town Selectman or President of the United States, has to sell me on his or her ability to serve. They are asking me to give them a job of one, two, four or six years. The person seeking a job has to prove to me they are worthy of the job they want. Just as with anyone else I hire, they have to give me a resume and I have to determine if they are telling me the truth and if they can really do the job. If I only read the resumes I received, I would never have a full picture of the candidate's ability. A good employer investigates; they call references and previous employers. A smart employer calls in the candidates for one or more interviews. Once the employer has all the information possible to make a decision, they offer the job to the candidate they feel best meets the qualifications. An employer who does not go through all these steps gets the employee they deserve. Or, maybe they'll luck out and get someone who was better at the job than they ever hoped for. But that’s a sloppy way of doing business; it’s a sloppy way to run a country.

And yes, we run this country. I think that, collectively, we have forgotten that important point. It isn't "They, the Congress" or "He, the President", it is "We, the People" who run this nation. By not voting, or voting when uninformed, we are abrogating our responsibility to ourselves, our families, our friends, and posterity. We will get what we deserve.

Or maybe, we'll get lucky. But I don't like the odds. They are too well stacked in the favor of the most personable, the most charismatic, the fastest or slickest talker.

I do my best to make sure I'm well informed on where all the candidates stand on the issues. I read their papers, I listen their speeches. The vast majority of the time, especially as I get older, I like very little of what I read or hear. It's all to slick, too well spun for my comfort.

I want a candidate who, like the fictional candidate Jed Bartlett, admits they "screwed" someone, somewhere, sometime. They messed up, they made a mistake. I want them to admit they are human. I don't care if they have a spouse, kids, or a pet goat. I don't care if they smoked pot when they were 20 or served in a war. I want them to show me their humanity. I need them to make me understand that they're going to do their best to work with others. I need them to make me understand they'll try not to hurt anyone. I need them to show to me they understand the job and all it entails. I need to know that they know they don't have all the answers, but at least have a clue where to look for them. I want humility, not arrogance. I want truth, not obfuscation.

I know that I will probably never get what I want. So, I make the best choice I can. I do my best to contrast and compare what everyone says and then I vote my conscience.

Sometimes I wince a little.

Sometimes I cross my fingers.

But I never, ever, fail to vote.

I'm a citizen of the United States of America. I have the right to vote. I exercise my right responsibly by learning all I can and making the best choice I know how. It’s important to me. I am responsible not only to myself but to the other citizens of this nation. By not voting, I let everyone else down. That comes across as a bit ridiculous, slightly grandiose, doesn't it? It's what I believe. I have the right to state my mind, read what I choose, where and when I choose to read it. I have the right to go where I please, when I please, as long as I can afford it. I can live where I want, eat what I want. I can go to church, mosque or synagogue, or not, if and when I want to. I can burn the flag, flip off a Senator, sing the National Anthem at baseball games. Or not. It's my choice.

It is also my responsibility to do what I can to make sure those rights, and the other rights we have, survive. If were lucky they will last long beyond our being dead and dust. This nation survived the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Jim Crow laws and I know we'll survive the Patriot Acts - but only if I vote. It's only through voting that we can guarantee we will be heard. If, like me, the current Administration disturbs you, concerns you, you should tell them to leave by voting for someone else. If you believe the current Administration has done a good job to date, ask them to stay by voting for them.

I just registered to vote in South Carolina.

I should have done so when I registered my car and transferred my driver's license from Maryland, but I didn't for a reason: it would have put me in the pool for jury duty. I've been called too many times, and served when required and not excused. Grand Jury and District Courts. County duty, civil and criminal. I've never known anyone who has been called up so many times.

One of the reasons I moved to South Carolina was to take care of my parents (89 and 90 years, bless them). It seems I can be excused when they need me to take care of the household. We'll see how that works. My last excuse for avoiding registration is a goner. So, why haven't you registered?

I'm a liberal in a conservative state, so I know that any way I vote might be a throw-away in this year's presidential election. But I can not, and will not, let a candidate who praises Vladimir Putin be elected as my president without casting my vote for someone else. I'm going to stop reading the opinion polls just for intellectual curiosity. I will study state referendums and read about the Senators and Representatives on the ballot. I might vote for a third-party candidate, but I suspect I will opt for Hillary Clinton. It's my choice, and @#*% it's yours to make, too.

Register if you haven't done so.

Vote, even if you think your choice is a throw-away.

Vote after work even if the exit polls don't seem to reflect your opinion.

VOTE.

If you don't vote, I don't want to hear you complain just because you thought it wasn't worth the effort. Or you are pissed that your candidate isn't on the official ballot in your state. Or worse: you don't want to vote for a candidate that might lose the election.

When you take a toddler to a grocery store, some of the more progressive ones have little carts you can give to your little companion, so they can walk around and "help". Likewise, some toy manufacturers have little toy steering wheels that you can put on your baby's car seat so he or she can pretend to be involved in moving the car around that you're driving to wherever it is you're going.

This is essentially what voting is in 2016 - something cute you have people go and do, but that is ultimately disconnected from how things actually work.

Case in point #1: redacted

EDIT: As noted by NanceMuse: the measure actually passed.

Brexit. Ah! Much angst. But it turns out that the result wasn't what everyone expected, so they're doing the "Clinton approach" - doing nothing about it for two years and going "why are you going on about emails and Benghazi? That's old stuff, flip the switch, change the channel." The vote wasn't binding - it'll probably be ignored. The vote was useless.

The Democratic party, with their 2016 primary, did a considerable amount of vote rigging. They also had Bill Clinton stumping at a voting station, which is illegal - but then again the laws never apply to Clintons. Turns out we had vote tampering and the actual choice of an energized electorate, Bernie Sanders was forced to concede - because the powers that be decided that this was "her turn" and the wishes of everyone else be damned. The vote was useless.

Because votes are no longer actual pieces of paper that can be verified and recounted. They are simply bits in a Diebold voting machine. They are designed to allow the powers that be to basically change any result they don't like.

So why this SUDDEN ANGST by the Clinton campaign to get people to get out there and vote, with the usual liberal scolds waggling their fingers and asserting you have no right to complain if you don't participate in this complete farce?

Nothing to do with any genuine concern that Trump might win. He won't. If he does, it'll be because her brain cancer or whatever she has advances enough so that she does something truly stupid on stage, or people watch her coughing again for five solid minutes and watch her being helped up every flight of stairs and wearing an earpiece to get the answers because she can't recall and is confused again and they realize they just can't sell her as a viable human being anymore. And if Trump wins, the powers that be will simply pay him to do as he's told.

But Hillary plans on doing quite a lot of things. If you thought her best buddy jacking up the price of an EpiPen 600% and then saying as a concession there'll be a generic version available at 300% of the price (a 50% savings! Wow! MUCH GENEROUS GOOD BARGAIN SUCH SAVINGS)- a patent whose research and development was entirely paid for by the taxpayer - was bad, wait til you see the TPP get rid of those cheap generic drugs, make Disney's permanent copyright rights look tame by comparison, and so forth. She will also probably want a big gun ban, and a government overhaul of health and pension systems.

Oh, and in the guise of climate change a massive increase in taxation and government control of energy. 

But it's going to be very difficult for her to scowl at the nation with her usual permanent mask of derision and scorn and say "I have a mandate from the American people" if only two hundred people show up for the election. They need the throngs of people, all neatly lined up like sheep in a shearing pen, dutifully making an appearance to give the already-decided-on-candidate the rubber stamp she needs to quietly do what she's been paid to do.

Hence the "you don't have the right to complain if you don't waste your time voting" spiel. A big push for this by the Clinton campaign. "He's a HITLER" isn't working as well as they'd hoped, so they're pulling out the "constitutional duty" and so forth argument.

At the same time, they're praising Colin Kaepernick saying that he's a REAL PATRIOTIC AMERICAN for refusing to stand for the flag because of Black Lives Matter. On that side, they're arguing that dissent and abstention from rubber stamping a broken or abusive system is one of the most patriotic things you can do.

And so, Hillary, under your OWN liberal argument, me and a whole bunch of other people are going to stay home come November, and yes, we very much can and will get under your fingernails when you try to abuse your position, and you will. How dare you, or anyone else question the principle, the ethics, the morals, or the rights of people who don't act how you want them to?

 

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EDIT: The left wing bias of this site is showing. That's fine. Users have brought to my attention that the election of George W. Bush the first time around was done under VERY shady circumstances, and I agree wholeheartedly. I am not being partisan with this writeup - only writing it as a critique of the people claiming that voting matters.

Vote (?), n. [L. votum a vow, wish, will, fr. vovere, votum, to vow: cf. F. vote. See Vow.]

1.

An ardent wish or desire; a vow; a prayer.

[Obs.]

Massinger.

2.

A wish, choice, or opinion, of a person or a body of persons, expressed in some received and authorized way; the expression of a wish, desire, will, preference, or choice, in regard to any measure proposed, in which the person voting has an interest in common with others, either in electing a person to office, or in passing laws, rules, regulations, etc.; suffrage.

3.

That by means of which will or preference is expressed in elections, or in deciding propositions; voice; a ballot; a ticket; as, a written vote.

The freeman casting with unpurchased hand The vote that shakes the turrets of the land. Holmes.

4.

Expression of judgment or will by a majority; legal decision by some expression of the minds of a number; as, the vote was unanimous; a vote of confidence.

5.

Votes, collectively; as, the Tory vote; the labor vote.

Casting vote, Cumulative vote, etc. See under Casting, Cumulative, etc.

 

© Webster 1913.


Vote (?), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Voted; p. pr. & vb. n. Voting.] [Cf. F. voter.]

To express or signify the mind, will, or preference, either viva voce, or by ballot, or by other authorized means, as in electing persons to office, in passing laws, regulations, etc., or in deciding on any proposition in which one has an interest with others.

The vote for a duelist is to assist in the prostration of justice, and, indirectly, to encourage the crime. L. Beecher.

To vote on large principles, to vote honestly, requires a great amount of information. F. W. Robertson.

 

© Webster 1913.


Vote, v. t.

1.

To choose by suffrage; to elec; as, to vote a candidate into office.

2.

To enact, establish, grant, determine, etc., by a formal vote; as, the legislature voted the resolution.

Parliament voted them one hundred thousand pounds. Swift.

3.

To declare by general opinion or common consent, as if by a vote; as, he was voted a bore.

[Colloq.]

4.

To condemn; to devote; to doom.

[Obs.]

Glanvill.

 

© Webster 1913.

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