Vote When You’re Not Angry

During my childhood, my parents volunteered to man our neighborhood voting station during elections. It was located in the multipurpose room of the elementary school I attended.

My parents did what election workers did and still do all over the country. They verified voters as they entered. They recorded names of each participant. They also visited with friends and neighbors and caught up with their lives. It resembled a neighborhood block party.

They were not allowed, of course, to influence a person’s vote in any way. I don’t remember if our small neighborhood precinct had watchers from political parties, but I don’t think any allegation of voter fraud ever touched our district.

Perhaps my parents’ involvement in the voting process is one reason I have, as far as I can remember, voted in every election of my adult life for which I was eligible. That includes a fair number of absentee votes when I was out of the country.

I’m always amazed at the number of eligible voters—sometimes more than half—who fail to darken the doors of their voting halls for an election. Or, as in my current voting district, fail to cast their ballots by mail.

Some people vote only when they are angry. They might vote more intelligently if they voted when they weren’t so angry, examining issues with a clearer mind.

A government run for the people isn’t a given. What we don’t use, we may lose.

The politicians voted in by a minority may  pass laws only for a few powerful interests, since the majority don’t seem to care about what their government is doing.

Of course, having lived in countries without elections and citizen participation, I’m less likely to take voting for granted.

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