Some people think their voice doesn’t count when it comes to politics. What they fail to realize is that if others feel the same way and don’t vote then their voices are truly muted.
According to the U.S. and World Population Clock, the United States’ population is over 329,207,154 people. As of July 1, 2019, it’s estimated that at least 22.4% of the previous number are persons under 18 years old. This means that there are roughly 255,464,751 people over the age of 18. In the 2016 Presidential election, 138,846,571 people voted. A little over 54% of adults voted in the election.
1. Constitutional Right to Vote
Voting isn’t required. However, the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution states that citizens of the United States have the right to vote regardless of race, color, or previous servitude. Additional amendments to the Constitution such as the Nineteenth Amendment expanded it to include women while the Twenty-sixth Amendment lowered it to age eighteen.
2. Trials Without Evidence and Witnesses Becoming the Norm
Imagine driving down the road when you see a set of blue lights flashing in your rearview mirror, prompting you to pull over to the side of the road. An officer appears at your window and motions for you to let down your window. Stunned and semi-afraid, you obey his command by handing over your license and car registration. However, the officer ignores your car registration and impounds your car while accusing you of driving a stolen vehicle. Of course, this isn’t true, but it’s his word against yours. Then you’re arrested.
When you go to trial, the judge doesn’t allow you to present your car registration or the officer’s bodycam footage. Consequently, you’re found guilty based on the officer’s account.
Does this sound fair? No, it’s not fair. This is what could happen when you have trials without evidence and witnesses.
3. The United States Becoming an Autocracy
Choosing a political party affiliation over fulfilling the duties of a political position is not what a politician took an oath to do. It’s unfathomable that one would choose to accept wrongdoing over standing up for what’s right. However, this happens when you allow someone in power to persuade you to follow their lead when you know they’re wrong.
4. Stripped Away Human Rights
Human rights are rights everyone is entitled to regardless of where they come from or what they believe.
We should be free to choose who we love and what we believe as long as it’s not against the law or infringes upon others’ rights. Relationships and families are not homogeneous. They are as varied as the colors in a crayon box.
However, some individuals believe that what they believe should be the standard for all. This is flawed and extremist thinking. Unapologetically biased people with extremist views shouldn’t hold public office.
If you believe the sun is purple and get others to agree that it’s purple, then you’re spreading propaganda. A quick look in the sky on a sunny day proves the sun’s not purple. However, it doesn’t stop some people from believing what they want to believe. Some people have a strong need for a sense of belonging that they’ll grasp onto to idiotic ideas.
Why is it okay for one to mock the disabled, show preferential treatment, waste millions of tax dollars, propose cuts to the needy’s benefits, tell outright lies, and still be able to be in a position of unchecked power?
Elected officials are elected to represent the people, not their interests. If a politician wants to raise his or her’s financial standing then they should abandon politics and remain in civilian life. Allowing them to green-light immorally and illegal behavior isn’t what the government stands for. Accepting lies as the truth is a dangerous action and destroys democracy.
6. Increased Inequalities
It’s often said that “the richer get richer and the poor get poorer.”
When the government provides large tax cuts to the multi-billion dollar corporations and small tax cuts to individual taxpayers, large income disparities rise. While there are some corporations that give generously, there are others who don’t.
Some corporations that benefit from reduced taxes do not provide a better standard of living for their employees. They rely on skating by on the minimum necessary to appease labor laws while their corporate executives enjoy big bonuses.
The thought of an increased federal minimum wage and providing health care coverage is a pain-point for many organizations. However, the reality is who can live off of a minimum wage job. Some say get a second job. Great suggestion, but what about the organizations that hire part-time and expect them to have open availability.
Now you have people who can’t afford a place to stay or be able to afford medical insurance. Let’s not mention, child care affordability. To add insult to injury, these people aren’t eligible for government assistance. What is one to do?
7. Eroding Environment
The environment affects everyone. If you like to go to the beach, wouldn’t you be disappointed to see there were no beaches available to go to because some company dumped their pesticides in it or when you walked outside you saw a cloud of black smoke circling the sky?
The federal regulations put into place by the EPA have been and are still in the process of being rolled back. This isn’t due to being flawed regulations, it’s due to appeasing those for monetary gain.
It puts the citizens in the United States in danger. Rolling back these regulations increases pollution levels in the air and water, strips away wildlife protections, destroys national monuments and puts any federally-protected land at risk.
8. Biased Laws
Imagine cutting yourself with a knife while preparing dinner. Your attempt at stopping the bleeding fails. You wrap your hand and head over to the nearest emergency room. The nurse takes one look at you and refuses treatment. Frustration fills your body and you question why? She tells you that they don’t have to treat transgenders. You shake your head with disappointment while dripping blood on the lobby floor. Does this sound right? Can they do this to people they don’t like? Don’t laws exist against discrimination?
Yes, there are laws against discrimination. The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination.
However, when the wrong people are put into a position of power and insert their personal beliefs into a matter, things can change and will change if no one stops them.
9. Ineffective Representation
From wanting to reveal whistleblowers to disregarding illegal actions, allowing the wrong people to hold the power to change laws and enforce them destroys a democracy. It sounds like an alarm to those who watch it happen.
The changing hashtags on social media show the growing discontent with ineffective representation in government.
10. America’s World Reputation
The actions of those in power are destroying America’s reputation of being a powerful and wonderful place to live in. Disrespecting countries that hold alliances with the United States and denying people entry into the “land of opportunity” due to the “browning of their skin” or their religious beliefs further weaken America’s standing in the world.
Politically-motivated actions, disregard for the poor, the rolling back of “fought-for” protections, and the growing discontent of the majority make the United States an undesirable country to admire.
Vote for Change
If you don’t like the way things are going in the country that you reside in and are eligible to vote, make your voice count by participating in the process. History has shown what a few can do to rule the many. When the “wrong few” are in power, human rights are at risk and the country could be set back to times when life was more unpleasant and fewer people prospered.
In the words of Harry S. Truman, “A vote is the best way of getting the kind of country and the kind of world you want.”