Voters today have found themselves struggling for tenacity to participate in a political system inundated with an endless deposit of reasons to choose one political party over the other. There’s also no shortage of animosity generated between political groups that might make it seem too hot to get involved. Furthermore, voters can find themselves unsatisfied and without a good choice of candidates or platforms to support.
This is further complicated by the technological situation voters are in each coming election within the age of information. There is an overwhelming flow of literature, propaganda, campaigning, news reporting, social media and other contentious vehicles of information that only the most well-informed, trained and discerning voters can manage to navigate and judge.
In this problematic situation it’s fair enough for voters to feel a bit reluctant and worried about getting involved. However, it doesn’t change the fact that they play a serious role in democratic processes by not participating. In absence of their contribution, they are essentially allowing others to decide for them how they’ll be represented in government. What those who participate don’t realize is that they have a serious moral responsibility in participating to establish ideal representation in the government for themselves and others.
Today’s generation of voters — the youth, the cynical, the disillusioned — have erroneously reasoned themselves into a perpetual state of complacency. By their lack of political participation, eligible voters seem to suggest that their vote doesn’t matter because it won’t have any effect in a pool of views and opposing wills. Furthermore, it suggests the fear that none of the candidates could truly represent them or are too sleazy to do so honestly.
I would like those reluctant to participate to consider this: Your vote always matters because all democratic systems in which election results rest on a cumulative quantity of different choices made rely on both the number of people who chose to vote and the number of people who chose to abstain from voting. Voting in an election is not just a competition to reach a bigger number than the opposing side. It is about giving your valuable input in a collection of others through which we elect someone for representation. We aren’t just numbers. We are all equally responsible individuals with the agency to decide, once eligible, who will truly and correctly represent our plights, our values, our aspirations, our issues, our needs, our situation, and, most importantly, our political culture both in our government and in our system of laws.
Whether we Americans like it or not, we are a governed people. More importantly, we decide who governs us. As said before, those whose chances of getting elected are directly burdened upon us shows that the ability to vote is more than a right or a privilege, but also a moral and civic responsibility. Even if we are to choose between evils, the amount of evil elected rests on us, and we are burdened further to denounce evil insofar as we can by public judgment.
We should really ask ourselves, are we doing anyone an injustice by being politically apathetic? Could you really say that you are happy with the current state of affairs? Could you fairly and reasonably condone this country’s actions whether you choose to acknowledge them as real and serious issues (ecological disaster, foreign war, capitalist exploitation)? If you are content, then you are going to have to explain why to those left for the worse because of it.
No one can feel totally unaccountable for their country’s actions in a democratic environment. Of course, we should be forgiving to those who might have unknowingly contributed to catastrophe as much as we are indebted to those who contributed to prosperity. Moreover, the end results of democratic processes can never fall on just one person’s choice but on everyone’s, equally. Nevertheless, the ethics of democratic politics demands that the voter play a role, no matter how small, in deciding who will legislate for the better or for the worse of outcomes.
Even in the event of no potential evil, it is still incumbent upon us to realize in an ideal society, we must constantly strive for better governing. We can see how much government conduct directly affects us when we can still envision a better society to live in. It’s up to voters to shape their government with their values, where should the state focus its programs: To what extent will our health bills be covered? Who we can love? How far will we go to conserve nature? What quality of education will be accessible? Who can live and enter our country? What kind of economy and job opportunities will be available?
This country of ours is the product of, for the most part, democratic decision making. The essence of our government is the essence of the representation we put into place. The society we are part of and the effect that legislated laws have on us is by our design. Therefore, the kind of representation is also dependent on us to contribute and be pro-active with others in its design. For, if no other reason to participate, we have a responsibility to ourselves and others.