Let’s Discuss It: An American tragedy

Let’s discuss voting. Voting is a subject that can certainly be considered a hot topic that may push some buttons, especially since next Tuesday is the day we vote to elect a new national leader.

Anyone who has followed my column knows voting is a very serious issue to me. I strongly believe every American, no matter where they are on this planet, should vote. And I have very little respect for those who choose not to vote without just cause.

Some of you may be offended by such a harsh opinion. But I believe we are doing much more than just electing a person to an elected office when we vote. So, in my mind, it becomes an American tragedy when we do not vote.

When we vote, we send a message. We are sending a message to our children, our neighbors, our community, our politicians, special interest groups and foreign nations. The message is: We care about America, and we are Americans who are willing to stand up and be counted.

When we vote, we send a message to politicians that we remember we are the true power of this nation. Our vote tells them, if they forget that truth, we will remind them at the next election when we vote to replace them. We cannot blame our politicians for listening to lobbyists and special interest groups if those are the only people raising their voices loud enough to be heard.

When we vote, we send a message to special interest groups that we hold the real power, not their lobbyists and high-priced attorneys. We send a message that regardless of lobbying strategy, or millions of dollars funneled into campaign coffers, on election day it will be the people — and we far outnumber them — who decides whether a candidate will continue to hold an elected position.

When we vote, we are sending a message to other countries that we, as Americans, are a force to be reckoned with, and that we understand we have the power to remove from office, any politician that may not negotiate with them in the best interest of America and Americans.

So yes, I do take a hard line about voting. Because I understand that to not vote also sends a message.

The message is: You do not care about what happens to your children, your community, or to America.

In the Marine Corps, living in Japan, one of my duties as a Staff Non-Commissioned Officer was that of a voter representative. I gave classes on how to vote, how the voting process worked, and how to register and vote as an absentee voter. So, I have heard most of the excuses given for not voting. But if you are eligible, physically capable of, and legally able to do so, then you need to vote. There is no valid excuse for not doing so.

The one excuse I have most often heard for not voting in the upcoming election is that neither candidate is worth voting for. I do not agree that it is a valid excuse for not voting. In fact, it should be one of the most important reasons to vote.

One of the primary reasons we have these two candidates is that not enough people voted during the primaries and demanded from the political parties that they offer us better candidates. And that is an American tragedy.

I must agree with those who believe these two candidates are not worth voting for. I have lived through decades of elections and decades of elected officials. I have been a democrat and a republican. I have voted for both democrats and republicans. But through all those decades and all those elections, this is the first-time I have ever seriously been afraid for America.

But I will be at the voting booth next Tuesday. As I write this I cannot honestly say who I will vote for. Sadly, I know too many people who feel the same way. However, regardless of how we may feel about the candidates, not to vote, especially in this election, will truly be an American tragedy.


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