Column: Voting, an American duty

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By David Hurtado

Well folks, another four years have passed, and we all know what that means: the onset of the 2012 election season.

For some, this represents a chance to make their discontent known to the current administration, or to throw their support behind it. Others, however, will forgo a trip to the polls this year, having given up on the idea that was America long ago.

According to the United States Census Bureau, about 131 million Americans, or 57.1 percent of voting-age Americans, voted in the 2008 presidential election, an increase of 5 million from 2004. Voter turnout for the 2012 presidential election is projected to generate more voter participation than previous presidential elections, according to an article in The Daily Tribune.

Regardless of what the naysayers claim, voting is one of the most important aspects of being an American citizen. It allows us to make our voices heard to those in government as close as our home cities and as far away as Washington, D.C.; to let them know they can’t just do whatever they want.

As President Eisenhower said many years ago, “The future of this republic is in the hands of the American voter.”

When we fail to keep those in power in check through voting, our rights can and will be diminished. Remember when President George W. Bush passed the Patriot Act and when President Obama passed NDAA? Where was the outrage at those unconstitutional actions? Some voters are furious now, but where were their voices when the bills were still in Congress?

Without the right to vote, we are no better off than people living under the oppressive rule of a dictatorship or monarchy. That is where our legislators are leading us, because they realize the average American has stopped caring about the political process. As long as their constituents are sated with materialistic garbage and reality TV, politicians will do everything they can to maximize their power while minimizing that of the people.

So go out to the polls and vote. Sure, our political system is a real piece of work, but our legislators’ power does not just magically appear. They get where they are because they make decisions for us by voting to enact laws that affect each and every one of us.

Even if you feel that your voice alone cannot make a difference, remember the words of Mao Tse-tung: “A single spark can start a prairie fire.”

Contact David Hurtado, features editor, at dhurtado@jccc.edu.

 

 

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