October 28, 2010

Why People Don't Vote

I think the main reason that people don't vote is simple.  People become apathetic about voting because their daily lives seem to be the same no matter who is in office.  When people talk of not voting, they are usually reminded of the fact that many people sacrificed to fight for the right to vote.  This is a valid argument, but it's not enough to get people to actually vote. 

We have to remember, people didn't fight for the right to vote, simply for the sake of voting.  They fought because their day-to-day existence would be dramatically affected by who was elected. 

Today, when people vote, MOST of the time there is no sense that your vote will drastically impact your current living conditions.  Today, people  don't "feel" that a vote changes things the way that those who fought for the right to vote "felt" a vote change things.  You can't get masses of people to vote "off principle", when they don't "feel" that a vote will make difference.  Often today's candidates offer very different plans for their constituents during their campaigns, but once in office, things seem to remain basically the same.

Another reason people don't vote is because our country as a whole doesn't really take politics seriously.  We elect officials basically the same way we selected homecoming kings and queens in high school.  We're swayed by attack ads, media spin and image more than anything.  Despite advances in technology, candidates are still expected to travel the state or the country delivering pep-rally-like "stump" speeches to crowds of people who already like them and know what they are going to say.  When this is the process we use to decide who will make and execute the laws that govern our society, I understand why some people don't take voting seriously.

For the record:  I'm not trying to justify not voting!  I think we should all vote and I will continue to vote in local, state and national elections myself. 

But until politics moves to a place where candidates represent concrete (not simply ideological, or rhetorical) differences in the everyday lives of the common man, and we become an electorate that is influenced more by facts than commercials and soundbites, I'll understand why people don't vote.
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3 comments:

LaNeshe said...

Oh my goodness...yes! You hit the nail right on the head.

Eric said...

Voting is a system that give the working class the illusion that they has a say in the matters of the country..the reality is that the 15% of people in the US who own 85% of the wealth in the country makes all the rules..we have no say...by voting, one doesnt overthrow or change anything, but fuels the corrupt system while still keeping us in the dark..WAKE UP

Trevor said...

@LaNeshe - Thanks!
@Eric - I'm not quite as cynical as you are about this topic, but I definitely agree that politics can never be the primary way to spark change in the US.

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