An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Why People Don’t Vote

There is an unfortunate trend in this country.  It is a trend that most people are not happy about in the slightest, and wish that it would go away.  It is easy to observe this trend with people because if you ask most people about it, it is easy to understand why they feel that way.  The trend is that people are sick of politics because of how unpleasant it is.  It used to be, back in the 90’s, that the real issues of importance in this country to the liberal community, like legalizing pot, gay marriage, gun rights, etc. were able to be talked about.  But that isn’t the case anymore.  Nowadays, the case is that the liberal community is so busy trying to keep the insanity of the conservatives in this country from being made into law that they are unable to even talk about the issues that matter. 

My friend, John Aronno, said it best, “the reason voting doesn’t work is because nobody does it.”  He is absolutely right.  The last municipal elections here in Anchorage had a 21% voter turnout.  That is just plain pathetic.  The average number of voters who turn out for municipal elections is roughly 20%.  Those numbers are just plain sad.  And what’s more, these elections matter.  The rather bigoted politicians in this city, like mayor Dan Sullivan, are kept in check by the Anchorage Assembly.  Of course, they still weren’t able to stop Sullivan from vetoing Ordinance 64 without a second though.  But at least they have the power to keep the man’s tendency to legislate taste in check.  After the elections this year, we are lucky that, while the number of progressive candidates is not as high as it was, and should be, there is still enough swing to stop the bulk of Sullivan’s ideas.

And he needs to be kept in check.  Thanks to the budget problems here in Anchorage, and Sullivan’s absolute committment to not raising taxes, we now have good detectives out on the street checking parking meters.  The crime rates in Anchorage reflect this.  In fact, aside from reassigning good cops, they are also cutting jobs in the police department.  It is not a fun topic to talk about.

The reason that people don’t vote is simple- there is no simple reason that people don’t vote.  Some don’t vote because they believe that politics is nothing more than two parties who are not for them.  And so, rather than trying to change the party system, they ignore it and hope that it will get better.  Some would call that protesting the system.  The intelligent call that being a coward and not wanting to face the truth.  Another reason is because they are sick of hearing all the constant bickering of politcal figures in this country.

Take a look on any major news network, it is easy to see why people believe this way.  It is on CSPAN all the time, and CNN, Fox, and MSNBC like to show it every day.  Every once and a while, the BBC, PBS, or any of the other not so corporate news networks get on the bandwagon (though not nearly as often).  We hear politicians in both houses of Congress yelling and bickering.  Each is calling the other a “traitor,” or “unAmerican.”  They scream till they are blue in the face, and in the end, who wins?  Not the American people, that’s for sure.

Another reason that is also very likely is the fact that people are ignored.  People have been screaming for years to end the wars that we have going on in the Middle East.  Rather than listen to the people, as they are supposed to do, they decide to start another war overseas with Libya (don’t say that it isn’t a war.  Military action is military action, and an act of war is an act of war).  People are now demanding to know why the politicians want to get rid of Medicare and turn it into a voucher system.  Are they going to listen then?  The people say to tax the rich, and of course, what do they do?  They stick the current economic burden on the poor.  It is all so pathetic that it hurts.  And people are starting to tune out.

A young man here at the college remarked that he would rather see an informed 21% of peope voting, rather than an ignorant 90%.  If only that was the case.  But that isn’t the case.  The case is that people are being manipulated and lied to, and the ignorant are the ones who are always in the majority of voting.  This is because the conservative elements of this country have a gift at being able to get their base out to vote.  It is something that the liberal community really could use a couple lessons on doing.  The liberal base is more or less uncaring about what happens. 

One could argue that the reason that most people don’t vote is a more or less good one- because overall, things in this country are pretty good.  And they would be right.  Things in this nation are pretty good.  But the fact is that we are at the crossroads of destiny when it comes to our nation’s political future.  Deny it all you like, but the fact is that this nation is facing the future, and if the government doesn’t listen to what economists, and the intellectual crowds are saying, that we cannot sustain our current economy, and it needs to be overhauled, then we may not be looking at such a pleasant future.  Sure, things are pretty good for the most part, but people need to realize that there is more at stake than that.

This nation is standing at the crossroads of destiny, and we are going to have to make a choice.  The sad fact is that while Obama may be a total failure for the liberal community, there are no other options on the table that look any better.  Would you rather see Donald Trump leading this nation?  It makes one quiver just to think about it.  So, it is time to get moving, or to pack up and go home, liberals.  Think about it.

Peace out,

Eli

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