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Why I vote

Why do I vote? There are several reasons. But first of all I would say that voting is NOT the be all and end all. Your job does not end or even begin with voting. It begins with educating yourself. It’s about being politically aware and educated - and that means more than watching adverts and news flashes. An ignorant vote is as pointless as not voting at all - worse in many ways. If you have not studied the parties and the candidates then I will probably be the first to say DON’T VOTE. If you cannot tell me what you’re voting for - REALLY what you’re voting for - then we may as well have someone place your vote at random for all the good it will do.

That being said - the reasons I vote:

I vote in order to give respect

Not for my government but for my country. My country does well by me. I live in the kind of comfort, security and prosperity that most of the world cannot even dream of. I enjoy rights and privileges that are so blessedly rare but I can take for granted to such a degree that I can ignore them. The country gives me history, identity, culture, home, tradition and so many other wonderful gifts. With these gifts come some duties. Voting is a duty I owe my nation, my country, my home. It is not much to ask.

I vote in order to give recognition
It wasn’t that long ago that most people couldn’t vote. It wasn’t that long ago that voting didn’t exist. It still doesn’t in some places. Universal Sufferage is frighteningly recent - and though the most recent prohibitions wouldn’t have restricted me, it still wasn’t that long ago that the common man was not allowed any say in their government, their lives or their future. This changed. This changed because people fought and worked and bled and died and struggled. Not for themselves, but for their children and their children’s children and their children’s children’s children. I honour them for the sacrifices they made for me. I will not tarnish their gift by refusing to exercise the rights they gave me.

But most of all, I vote to defend myself
I am a member of a minority. Not only am I the member of a minority, but I am a member of a disempowered minority that faces considerable opposition, prejudice and hatred. There are a large number of people and forces out there that would do me harm. The reason I function as easily as I do in society is because there are laws and bodies in operation that fights for me. There are laws that prevent people hurting me. There are rules that prevent people discriminating against me. The common rights of our people apply to me as well as everyone else.

These laws are enforced and implemented by the government. These policies are put in place by the government. These rights and reinforced by the government. For any of them to work at all, the government has to make them work, the government has to enforce them, the government and its agents have to fight our corner. Rules mean nothing if the enforcement bodies are indifferent towards them. Laws mean little if new loopholes are introduced.

The government is my shield, my shelter, my protector and my champion. I have a vested interest in examining it, shaping it and, most of all, making sure I am heard by it. Because if it forgets me, if the legions of hate get to do the shaping then I and mine are in severe trouble

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(Deleted comment)
Thankee. We forget how much we risk by taking government to granted, methinks

(Deleted comment)
I vote for many reasons. I will cheerfully admit my father's tendency to mutter "They should never have given you people (i.e. women) the vote" probably plays a factor. It's not all of it, but it makes me smile.

The world is a complex place. I voted Friday (we have early voting here) and I was pleased to see the place wasn't deserted. This year a lot of people are emotionally invested in the elections. I want to make sure we have a president at least marginally brighter than myself before I die. Among many other things.

I can remember when voting was a long and excrusiating process. All done by hand. I grew up in a small town, yet people who'd known me all my life would check my ID again and again and again.

It's easier today. We have the 'net to help with research. If a person doesn't have at least one point or issue which matters deeply to them then I don't want to know that person. Too shallow for me.

Voting is good.

There are many reasons to vote :) I think there is a sense of hope in the recent American elections that hasn't been there for a while

In the modern world - being ignorant of all issues (or worse, indifferent, is several kinds of inexcusable)

In the modern world - being ignorant of all issues (or worse, indifferent, is several kinds of inexcusable)

I don't understand a person not having at least one issue that really matters to them. I have a lot of them, including some I suspect no government can help which is I'm afraid I'm surrounded by a sea of shallow people.

President-elect Obama (I LOVE TYPING THAT) said in his acceptance speech that we would likely not always agree and this is true. He has said he's against same sex marriage and I don't understand that. Just a few years before his own parents married that marriage would've been illegal in a lot of states and it's the same thing. Whether it's keeping people of different races or the same sex from marrying, it's legislating against love and that. Is. Wrong.

But the difference and the source of hope, for me, is that he's not a patronizing and smug politician who thinks he knows better than the little people who just exist to vote for him and keep him employed. He will listen. He may not come around (I wish he would just as I wish he will listen to Al Gore on the environment) but he will at least listen.

Therein lies hope. I use my Bono icon in his honor. ;)

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