Archive for Thursday, July 27, 2000

Americans have no excuses for voter apathy


July 27, 2000

As Americans, we have a number of unalienable rights we often call to mind. The right to free speech and religious and political beliefs are the basic principles of what makes the United States of America the greatest country in the world.

But as Americans, we often take these freedoms for granted.

At no time is that more apparent than during the election season.

There are places in the world where blood has been shed to pave the way for people there to cast ballots for the candidate of their choice. There are places in the world where leaders dictate how a country will be run, what they should say and what people should believe.

Unfathomable, indeed.

But the real unbelievability comes right here. On Tuesday, we will take the first step toward electing new civic leaders. The August primary will go a long way in determining the candidates for the November election that will have ramifications at the local, county, state and national levels.

Yet, three of every four registered voters will choose not to cast his or her vote.

They'll stay away for one reason or another work, no one to watch the kids, it's too big a hassle make no bones about it, they will stay away.

There is no greater act of ignorance or negligence in this country than voter apathy. The freedoms bestowed upon us by virtue of being born in this country should never be overlooked or taken for granted.

The argument that one vote cannot make a difference is an old, tired and feeble excuse for not voting. If it was just one vote that wasn't cast, it might wash, but when 25 percent of the populace is determining the future for all of us, it makes no sense not to get involved and voice your opinion.

One vote can make a difference if everyone casts his or her one vote.

Granted, a primary election in Kansas loses some of its luster because it won't take part in helping to elect the presidential nominees from each party. Maybe that's something the Sunflower State's lawmakers should address in coming years.

In addition, a primary election is kind of like the semifinal round of a competition still months from its conclusion. You don't crown a champion on opening day, but there are some significant races.

Believe it or not, this election will have an effect on all of us. It will help shape the area in which we live for years to come. To not have a say in its direction is sad.

To have a say and choose not to voice it is even more sad.

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