Is Voting Essential?

If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.
-Emma Goldman

Liberty. That’s the essence of democracy itself.

The freedom for the people to choose their own rulers to govern according to their wishes. Supposedly, even one vote from the average Joe has the power to affect the country’s future.

The government of the people, for the people, by the people. It looks and sounds like a utopia, doesn’t it?

However, the main political factor that most tend to forget, or choose to willfully ignore, is that the average voter may not always be sufficiently informed. That is, for countries that silently violate freedom of speech and the flow of information, how can you expect the citizens to make an informed decision?

This leaves us with a problem.

How do we cast votes, for the betterment and aspiration of the country, without extensively knowing who we are voting for?

There’s a certain distrust of mainstream media as it can always be manipulated by the elite few, specifically by those in power and those who want to be in power. Then there’s the Internet, where the line between fact and fiction is obscure. Everyone claims to be an expert on a certain political issue when most often that not, they aren’t.

Just take a look at the drama that has been the main issue of every election season.

The politics of fear, misinformation, and superficiality reign supreme. Thoughtful political discourse is missing in the current political landscape because the system prefers sensationalism.

So who do we trust, exactly? The politicians themselves?

I have no qualms with any of them, but there’s a reason why politicians are the least trusted ones. They’ll be silent most of the time, but suddenly reappearing 6 months before the general election, only to kiss our asses and promise us the moon and stars.

There are few honest and hard-working politicians, I admit that, albeit a small percentage. But the ones that bring the most impact, the ones that actually bring change to the people, are rarely politicians.

Thus in voting, when you’re presented with a choice, it’s understandable why we face such a hard time making a decision. An informed decision requires a lot of research and serious thought, unlike blindly casting a vote based off who your peers think should be the next leader.

Take the current American political atmosphere for example. Americans are still bickering back and forth on who to cast their vote for.

Some might even say, choose the lesser of two evils.

The thing is, if you’re backed into a corner and you’re forced to choose between an imperialist faux-feminist whose only points for presidency is her gender and a racist xenophobic capitalist whose presidential campaign has been likened to that of Hitler himself, then democracy has failed the people.

Out of 32 MILLION Americans, yet you’re forced to choose between these two? How about neither.

Hence, that’s why people consider the third option, which is abstaining from voting.

Sometimes not voting is the most virtuous choice. However, there’s a lot of misconception regarding not voting. A certain number of people voiced out saying, “If you do not vote, you have no say in politics because you are not participating in democracy. ” which is completely wrong.

Not voting is in fact participating, because it sends a signal to the politicians. As each vote literally counts and those who vote are showing their support to that specific politician.

However, it is true that not voting sends an unclear message. Are you signaling that you don’t feel like voting ? Or are you saying that you are against the democratic process? The same unclear signal can be said the same for those who do choose to vote. Are you voting because you agree with X’s politics, or are you voting merely because you hate Y?

Whilst some people embrace the norm that “you should vote”, it is even more accurate to say that “you should vote only if you are sufficiently informed.”

Thus, at the age where information can be freely manipulated and politicians can be multifaceted, the choice to not vote is a clear one for some. If you choose to vote, by all means, go ahead. With that said, though, be sure that you are informed of the choices you’re making.

If you’re on the fence between two political parties, you can always choose not to vote.

Ultimately, the issue of voting comes down to conscience.

Politicians and friends alike have no right to insist that those who choose not to vote do not exercise their democratic rights when the choices presented are both equally awful and undesirable.

Simply saying no and refusing to cast a blot is a powerful form of dissent, thus a decision not to vote deserves the same ounce of respect as those that do choose to vote.


Have a say about this piece or anything else under the sun? Submit your ideas and pitches to contactkulmagazine[at]gmail.com.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s