In the aftermath of the mudslinging-fest that was the 2016 presidential campaign, it’s probably not surprising that a large number of people couldn’t take it and decided to tune out of politics for a few days or a lifetime. While the sentiment is entirely understandable, it remains a good idea and perhaps even a civic duty to be politically informed, even if it’s only for local elections. Here are three reasons for your consideration.
1. It Can Make a Difference in Your Life
Once you dig beneath the blood and guts chaos that has come to characterize most federal elections in recent memory, you get to the reality that this stuff really does matter for quality of life for you and your family. The people we put into office are the ones who come up (sometimes) with solutions to the nation’s problems. Or at least they take a wild stab at addressing them. Do you have a pet issue? Not as in dogs and cats but rather a position for or against something in society? Do you wish smoking marijuana for medical reasons and recreation was legal in all 50 states? Pay attention to the people you elect!
2. The Individual is the Collective
While it’s true that the single ballot you cast in a presidential election where 60 million people vote may not be the deciding factor, it should be obvious that we can’t all assume our vote is meaningless and sit an election out, for it is the sum of all these millions of individual decisions that go into the final collective choice. Consider this even more critical when it comes to local elections that may garner only a few hundred or thousands in turnout. The eventual outcome rests even more heavily on the individual.
3. Apathy Can Lead to Fascism
A populace that allows itself to become politically apathetic can provide the crack of opportunity for a truly disturbed individual to rise further in the political ranks than would ever be possible if the majority had paid closer attention. For those of us who have lived in relative comfort and stability here in America, it’s hard to understand the loss of liberty and life quality that would be inherent in a real authoritarian or fascist regime. Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini happened once. They could happen again.
The Bottom Line
As corny as it might sound, voting is a privilege that should be taken seriously. It doesn’t require any great sacrifice to keep abreast of the hot political issues of the day. No need to tune into the 24/7 cable news chaos for hours at a time. Just check in now and then to the information provider of your choice, and do what a smart citizen does – pay attention.