Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My Tiny Vote

I have to admit that I watched a couple of hours of election results tonight, culminating with President Obama's wonderful speech.  I am so excited about what he might be able to do with four more years.  Tonight, as I watched news coverage, I read what my friends wrote on Facebook.  I admire those friends who posted multiple times, who were engaged, who said they voted with their children watching.  As a country, we need that.

We need, more than anything, to be involved. 

Oh, I could write all this rhetoric about what we need to do, but I won't.  The President's speech was just that good.  I even liked Mitt Romney's speech.  I don't need to add anything.

So why did I do my errands, today, with a pride in the fact that I'd voted?  Why did I listen to NPR's program on why people don't vote and sneer inwardly as I drove to meet my friend for a walk?  I know I shouldn't have that attitude, but I do. 

Despite some ambivalence about the ability of any elected official to make relevant changes, I voted anyway.  Despite some belief that my vote wouldn't matter, I voted anyway.  Despite the thought that I might lose that which I'd hoped for, I voted anyway.  I voted because the election wasn't a sure thing.  Oh, I could have faced a loss and when I find out results of some of the smaller issues, I know I will be disappointed about some of them.  That's part of the process though.  Life can be disappointing.

I voted because, though the effects of my vote might be minuscule, it's still an effect. 

I buy a lottery ticket once in a while.  I know the odds of winning are low.  They're really low.  Even when people buy twenty or thirty tickets at a time, the odds of winning are starkly low.  Yet, if I never buy a lottery ticket, the odds are zero.  Nada.  Zilch.  There's a difference between almost zero and zero.  That's how I feel about the effect of my tiny vote among the millions.  It's not zero. 

You know, I read that about a third of the people don't vote.  Is that true? 

Yup.  I just looked it up.  In 2008, only 64% of the people who were allowed to vote for president actually voted.  That means that about a third didn't bother. 

If that third had actually rallied around another party, the green party or the libertarians, they could have made a difference.  They might have surprised us and won. 

But with apathy, you get exactly what you expect.


Thank you for listening, jb

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