1. While voting is the most basic and trivial element of democracy, it is the one that everyone can participate in with a minimum of effort. As members of a free society we have a responsibility to cast a ballot exercise at least this element of democracy. The other elements of democracy include the ability to participate in it to a larger degree by nominating and supporting a candidate, being part of policy making groups or even running as a candidate yourself. Those who whine about the impersonal nature of the process are the ones who have never gotten their hands dirty. Participating in democracy may not be easy, but nobody ever promised that. Easy is being told what to do by an autocrat, and apathy will get you that every time.
2. If you support a particular candidate, policy or ideology, understand that the weirdos and fanatics WILL go out and vote because of their (often misplaced) passion. If the moderates and sane people don’t vote, our election results will be skewed towards these extremists. Similarly, if a particular demographic doesn’t vote, the results may be skewed. If retired people like myself get out to vote and younger people or middle aged people don’t, then the results will likely benefit the active demographic. You need to represent your personal views, your gender, your age group and socio-economic class.
3. Voting means that you’ve engaged your brain at least somewhat in thinking about social issues and questions. This is a good thing to do once in a while. The nihilist or skeptic likes to sit back and say, “Well, my vote doesn’t mean anything anyways.” Usually that’s just another way of saying, “I’m too lazy to stand up and do something affirmative, so I’ll blame the system for not making it easy for me.”
GO OUT AND VOTE. EVEN IF YOUR CANDIDATE DOESN’T WIN, YOUR PREFERENCE WILL BE RECORDED AND WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LONG RUN AS CANDIDATES TRY TO BUILD SUPPORT OR PEOPLE REALIZE THAT THEY HAVE TO ADJUST THEIR POLICIES.
I’ll be acting as a scrutineer this evening, helping to maintain the integrity of the process, which, as we’ve seen in the U.S., is vulnerable in even a civilized society.