Democracy thoughts on 9/11/14

My Sept. 11 thoughts: Anyone posting 9/11 memories who is eligible but didn’t bother to vote yesterday — yes, I’m talking about NYC/New York state, don’t know what the electoral calendar is anywhere else — I seriously urge you to examine yourselves. Countless martyrs battled and DIED fighting for the 15th Amendment, the 19th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act. This country was attacked 13 years ago in part because of its democratic symbolism, so there’s another several thousand dead as martyrs to democracy. But you didn’t even pop in to your neighborhood polls to check some boxes in service to our democracy and gratitude for all those sacrifices? I find that disgusting. New York is a blue city and a blue state, yet over *90%* of eligible Democrats didn’t even show up. Therefore, I know that includes some (or many) of my friends, too, which makes me sad.

I am passionate about voting every single time I get the chance, and have no respect at all for any eligible voter who skips out. Especially not apathetic, idle, louche left-leaning types who just can’t be bothered. There is no argument that can persuade me that not showing up is somehow a valid choice. NONE. Don’t like things? Change them. Don’t want to work that hard? Support someone who does. Can’t even show up to tick a box? You just gave away your right to complain. If you are unimpressed with a candidate, vote for the other. If you are disinterested in the big marquee race (Gov, Prez, whatever), write in a protest candidate or skip it and vote in the other races and measures on the ballot. (This is how state and local laws are often changed, and that shit definitely matters.)

Also, not voting is exactly the same as doubling the vote of your ideological enemy. There’s no such thing as an apathetic fundamentalist and politicians only listen to those who vote. I don’t like right-wing voters but I have to say I respect that they show up and demand to be heard… it works, and much as I don’t like the results, I can’t dispute their power at the polls. So thanks, all you lazy lefties, who think there’s no need and no point, thanks a lot.

(Note: I vote Working Families Party line in general elections to show support for a further-left position than the Democrat platform — but I’m a registered Democrat because the primary is so, so important here.)

Considering how many people in this city, this country and this world have no voice in their government, the idea that someone would voluntarily silence themselves is infuriating. It’s aggressively disrespectful to the voiceless living among us and the warriors of the past. How dare any of us be so lazy? Ugh.

I truly believe in (representational) democracy and one of the reasons this fries my hide is the injustice of such a tiny minority included making important decisions for all. Yes, I’m so annoyingly lefty that even when the “elite” includes me, I still think it’s wrong. There are 19 million people in New York State. Yesterday’s vote was only for those who have previously registered as Democrats. That means they are already politically astute enough to do so, which means it eliminates some of the potential electorate. Of those NYers affiliated with parties (which eliminates more voters), 60%, or 5.5 million, are registered Dems.

SOOOO if only 9% of them showed up, that means: ~500,000 voters just made decisions/affirmations that affect 19 million people. That profoundly offends my principles and it’s why I fervently hope that everyone I know participates next time and every time. Even if it means “diluting” the power of my own vote, even if it means encouraging someone who votes opposite me … because I believe in this principle so deeply.

So please, assuming you are eligible: If you didn’t vote yesterday, or for those elsewhere, if you didn’t vote in your recent local primary, *please* make sure you are registered for the general election and do show up at your polling place in November. Not just this year, and not just because of 9/11. Do so every chance you can… because you’re an American and you’re alive and you have a voice — and all of these are precious privileges that you cannot in good conscience take for granted.


About amywinns

Semi-snarky, semi-sincere, occasionally ranting, always paying attention. Feminist who can work a skirt and crack a joke. Grammar nerd who is also fun at parties. Mid-career writer/editor with 15 years’ experience in newspapers & magazines who now helps developers at a major media corporation communicate with the suits who write the checks. Pro-women, pro-family, pro-choice, pro-workingclass, pro-entrepreneur, pro-farmer. Like every other bourgeois Brooklynite, I choose local/organic/raw food — mostly vegetables — whenever possible/reasonable/affordable but I’m not a smug asshole about it. Hometown: Atlanta. Weird hobby: lindy hop. No pets, no kids, no thanks.
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