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The Voters Who Stayed At Home

Perhaps I should have changed the title of this post to “The Americans Who Stayed At Home”. That’s really where this all lies. In the aftermath of the election, I was reading some posts on Facebook and came across one from someone I am related to. He and his wife shall remain nameless, but what they posted troubled me greatly. They basically congratulated President Obama for his victory and then wrote that they were proud of the fact that they did not vote. I could not believe what I was reading. How can any American citizen not have the desire to exercise the voice granted us by the United States Constitution? How can any American citizen not have the desire to vote in our electoral system?

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I couldn’t let that pass by (probably should have), so I commented that they should be ashamed of themselves. You know, with my usual discrete tactfulness. I was quickly informed that it was not an obligation that Americans vote. That if it were an obligation, it would not be freedom. Of course, they are technically right. It is a freedom of choice, whether we choose to vote or not. I responded that they were throwing away the sacrifices already paid so we could have that freedom and they said it was still their right and we would have to agree to disagree. I left well enough alone and did not respond, but my mind has been rolling, trying to get a handle on the attitude I saw displayed.

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We all know many elections have a very small turnout. In an election of such importance, one would think that Americans would want to voice their opinion in the most powerful way available, but that is not the case. Mitt Romney received fewer votes than did John McCain. Barack Obama received fewer votes than he did in 2008. Do the majority of Americans simply not care about the direction of our country? I do not know the percentage of Americans who are actually registered to vote, but according to voting statistics that were certified early this year, there is a gap of 60 million people between the number of Americans who are eligible to vote and those who are not registered. There is a difference of over 15 million people between the number of Americans who are registered to vote and those who choose not to vote.

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Some of these people are not doubt, disillusioned by the system. Many of them probably believe that it does no good to vote. Some of them probably do not care, as long as they are not troubled from their busy schedule. Almost 18% of those who choose not to vote cite conflicting schedules. With the number of ways we have to vote in America, that is a shame. There are also those who did not vote on November 6 because they did not like the choices. That is their privilege, but it does not take away from the fact that many of them chose not to make their opinions known by voting.

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Where does that leave our country? I firmly believe America would not be in the shape it is in, if the people who should be voting actually exercised that right and voiced their opinions at the ballot box. We can complain about the system all we want, that it does not good to vote, but it would make a vast difference, if more of us came out to vote. For that, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

About LD Jackson

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LD Jackson has written 2053 posts in this blog.

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Founder and author of the political and news commentary blog Political Realities. I have always loved to write, but never have I felt my writing was more important than in this present day. If I have changed one mind or impressed one American about the direction our country is headed, then I will consider my endeavors a success. I take the tag line on this blog very seriously. Above all else, in search of the truth.

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  • You are a wise man, LD, but I must disagree. I think we would be in much worse shape if everyone voted.

    In fact, I believe there should be a test one must pass before voting. Publish the whole thing in the paper and on the internet, with the answers, but make people pass that test before voting.

    • Dragonconservative

      Some sort of literacy test, I agree. And not those BS literacy tests that ask what colors are on the American flag. The literacy test would require each eligible voter to know (at least) the function of each branch of the federal government.

  • I am sympathetic to the Covenenters who refuse to vote and other Christians who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for a non-Christian Mormon. The right to dissent by not voting is itself a vote. There are legitimate reasons why a Christian might refuse to vote, beginning with the fact that the Constitution refuses to name Christ as King. I don’t take things quite as far as these folks but we should not bind their conscience by forcing votes.

  • Sadly, this election and the low turn out to defeat Obama or elect Romney, tells us the we conservatives are not a monolithic group. We are fracture into many parts. In 2008, the Republicans could have run the Prince of peace and they would not have won. There was no way any Republican was going to win in 2008. The trun out of those that generally vote Republican was abysmal. That we couldn’t turn out more votes for Romney in 2012 than McCain got in 2008 is mind boggling.

    • Dragonconservative

      We have to put someone who is an eloquent speaker out in 2016. Walker/Rubio, or Walker/Jindal. And let’s not forget one thing. The Democrats have a history of going into poorer neighborhoods and giving speeches, as well as picking them up to vote, knowing that many of them will vote Democrat. The Republicans need to start doing the same thing, except they have to go and find the hillbillies. Once they find the hillbillies, just start talking about gun control. That’ll get them to vote Republican.

  • Steve Dennis

    It is hard to believe that after four years of Barack Obama less people showed up to vote for ROmney. I understand they are upset with the system but they did more harm than good because of how critical this election was. When we look back on this election we will know that we did all we could to stop it and these people will regret their “principled” stand.

  • That is the ultimate irony, no? That abstaining from the vote is a legitimate choice?

    I voted, but not for Romney. Had the Republicans not defrauded some of the primaries, had they not changed the rules of the convention to silence voices, had the party not been taken over by the ultra hard-core social conservatives, I might have voted Republican.

    As I said, the party is losing touch with the pulse of the American people. Mark my words: the Republican Party will not see one of their own in the Whitehouse so long as they try to pretend like most Americans are socially conservative.

    The Party needs to wake up and smell the social evolution.

    • A couple of things in reply to your comment.

      First of all, I believe some may have misinterpreted this post. I was not implying that Romney lost because certain segments of the electorate stayed home. The point I was trying to make is that it is a shame that some people believe it is a legitimate choice to choose not to vote at all. That’s what I find so troubling.

      Secondly, I must disagree with your assessment of social conservatives. We are not the problem in the Republican Party.

      • I understood what you meant, I promise. I dn’t think people should feel ashamed for not voting. I actually considered not voting for a couple of reasons.

        Reason 1 was because I knew that if I did vote, it was going to be for Gary Johnson. It’s a pretty tough pill to swallow knowing that your candidate’s chances of winning are less than the chances of Hitler rising from the grave and going out on a date with a distant relative of Eva Braun.

        Secondly, I am of the mind that everything is broken beyond repair, and that the people in power broke it on purpose so that they could benefit from it. I’m so disgusted with everything going on in government that it makes me not even want to be a part of it.

        There’s a strong sense of hopelessness that has washed over a lot of Americans. I for one felt it when the Republican Party made “pro-life without exception” the official party platform.

        Social conservatives are the problem because so much of America is rejecting that brand, as pundits like to say. I mean look at the issue of gay marriage for example. In just a few years, nearly half the population supports it or at least say that homosexuals should be allowed to marry even if the person has a moral objection to it.

        Abortion is still very hotly contested. What we’re seeing today are a lot of peope who consider themselves to be personally pro-life, but politically pro-choice. That’s how I am.

        At the RNC, the party leadership basically said that there is no place for moderate Republicans in the GOP. So guys like me who are fiscally conservative but socially liberal were pretty much told to go somewhere else.

        That’s why the Republicans lost. That’s why I take no umbrage with anyone who decided to abstain in this year’s election.

        • Dragonconservative

          Social issues were not a big factor in people’s minds. Despite Obama’s claim of the “War on Women,” it wasn’t the issue that captivated the minds of the people. It was the perception of Mitt Romney that came out of the fake “War on Women.” Obama used it as an excuse to paint Romney as a horrid, predatory Wall Street guy with no caring for the common man. And, unfortunately, it worked.

  • irene stanek

    congratulations to all that did not vote, you voiced your opinion in such a way that you not only cut our throats but you cut your own too. I have never been less ashamed of america than i am today!!!

  • Camwell is right about one thing; we cannot long sustain a democratic republic when the citizenry is without virtue. I don’t necessarily suggest “immorality,” although we cannot long sustain an immoral society. By virtue, I mean the ethical standards that separated us from Great Britain in the first place, the willingness to work hard for an honest dollar, and I mean to suggest “civic virtue,” which includes a duty to make oneself knowledgeable about the issues of the day, and the obligation to vote in local, state, and national elections. That said, I absolutely agree with Silverfiddle. Stupid people should not be allowed to vote in any election.

    If there are nitwits out there who think that social conservatives are the problem, I will counter by arguing that a pristine definition of nitwit is anyone who thinks the American taxpayer should pay for Sandra Fluke’s contraceptives and sex toys, or for her abortion of a human infant.

    • There are a lot of things we shouldn’t fund. I’m against the death penalty, but I’m not about to tell the government we shouldn’t pay for it.

      The problem I have with Republicans on that issue is that many of them–not all–want to defund Planned Parenthood entirely. That’s a big mistake. I can understand them not wanting their tax dollars to go to abortion, but Planned Parenthood is not an abortion mill, despite what many pro-life advocates want you to believe.

      This is a hard pill to swallow, but implementing and funding population control measures is a good thing. This planet has 7 billion people in it, and at its current rate of growth, the earth will not be able to sustain the entire human population in about 30 years or so.

      So I’m fine with giving women birth control. Personally, I’m not okay with women aborting babies because they were too irresponsibe to use some form of contraception, but I’m also not going to tell them that they should attempt to birth and raise a child that they are probably incapable of raising in the first place.

      Here’s an example. I work with people with disabilities covering the entire spectrum–mental health, cognitive, and physical. One of my clients – she is in her mid 40s – was telling me about her life. She said that her mother had her when she was 16. She had her first child when she was 17. Her 2 daughters both had children when they were 17. Her son had 2 children by 2 different women by the time he turned 21. All of them are welfare lifers, except for my client who expressed to me that she is very adamant about getting herself off of welfare (I work for an employment service).

      It’s generational, friend. It’s a perpetual cycle. If that woman had an abortion when she was 16 instead of going through with having the child, think of how much pain and anguish would have been spared. Think of how many illegitimate children who will grow up without fathers could have been avoided. You never know: that woman could have gone on to have a legitimate child at a good age and spawned children and grandchildren that could have had relatively good lives.

      But now, there is a family doomed to be stricken by perpetual poverty, government assistance, and illegitimate teen pregnancies. And you want to take away measures to prevent this from happening?

      • Planned Parenthood isn’t an abortion mill? That really isn’t true. According to the information I was able to find, they performed 332,278 in 2009. That’s one abortion every 95 seconds. The amount of federal money they receive comes to $932 for every abortion performed in 2009. I would cite later years, but they have reported on those yet, or at least not where I can find it. If that isn’t a good description of an abortion mill, it will do until a better one comes along.

    • Dragonconservative

      Great definition of a nitwit. And I agree with you. We MUST implement social conservatism. While I understand that people can choose to be immoral if they so wish, as a society, the government must restrict immorality in as many ways as possible, ie, restricting abortion to rape, incest, death of the mother. As for Mr. Camwell, should an innocent child have to die, and thereby release an irresponsible girl from individual accountability in order for her to have success in life? In the kind of abortion you are talking about, you are killing an innocent child. And for what? To spare irresponsible people? To throw the accountability of a mother out the window? It’s completely immoral for a young mother to kill her own flesh and blood.

      • Should an innocent Iraqi child have to die because we decided to topple Sadam? Did the innocent German children deserve to have their homes revenge bombed by the British? We, as a society, accept the killing of innocents all the time, except when it happens in war we call it “colateral damage.”

        There are things worse than death and killing. I’m not saying that it’s okay to abort a child, but it certainly is not my choice. It’s not your choice either, and it should NEVER be your choice. It’s the mother’s choice. If you believe in God, which I’m guessing you probably do, you’ll simply have to take solace in the fact that she will have to answer for what she has done in the afterlife.

        If that doesn’t comfort you, then I fully expect you to get on the wagon for abolishing capital punishment and the anti-war movement.

        Otherwise, you’re simply picking and choosing which morality you want to legislate. Most people do that these days. I, for one, do NOT want you imposing your morality on me. Ever.

        • Dragonconservative

          As for what you said about capital punishment, those are guilty people. They have, by their actions, demonstrated their blatant disregard for others’ lives, and have thus forfeited the right to life.

          As for Saddam, I know its callous, but a dictator toppled and the vast majority of a race of people liberated is cause for celebration, not mourning at the deaths of innocents. While it is certainly preferable that we did not kill those people, it is war. And some people get killed in war who shouldn’t. But the reality is, America freed a country from a dictator who killed many more of his own people. Toppling Saddam was a clearly moral thing to do. Same thing with the British and Germans (I assume you’re talking about Dresden).

          The issue I have with what you’re saying is that you’re talking idealistically. In war, certain deaths are regrettable, but inevitable. But with the issue of abortion, we all, as a society, can avoid unnecessary deaths by outlawing abortion (except in cases of rape, incest, death of the mother). And finally, Mr. Camwell, I’m not imposing my morality on you. I’m simply stating the plain truth: unnecessary killing is WRONG. And I think we can all agree on that.

          • And who determines whether or not the killing is necessary? You?

            Why is the death penalty necessary killing in your mind? Is it because the offenders somehow “deserve” to die? How does a human, a flawed human as we all are, have the right to determine who deserves to die? As I said in my earlier comment, there are worse things than death. IMO, the death row inmate gets out of it easy. He doesn’t have to live in fear that one day he’ll regret his actions.

            He doesn’t have to live a lifetime under a microscope without rights. He gets to die. He gets to avoid the lifetime of suffering. And don’t even THINK to tell me that keeping him locked up for life is a burden on the tax payer, because then you would be showing your complete disregard for the sanctity of all human life. Is human life only a matter of dollars and cents to people who bring up that argument?

            And to say that you are callous to the suffering of the Iraqi people who lost their loved ones because of our bombs only proves my point that you–and many other people–simply choose which killing you’re okay with. Would you still be so callous if your child was blown apart in a tomahawk strike? Would you simply say “well, my son was collateral damage, but it was for a good cause so I’m going to celebrate!”? If you are a decent human being, which I believe you are, then I’m sure the answer is “no.” You would not be okay with it. You would mourne, and you would likely despise war and all of the death and destruction it has wrought.

            “We MUST implement social conservatism.”

            By doing so you would be imposing your morality on me and others. Yes, society needs a minimum of laws to keep people from harming each other, but outside that there’s nothing you can or should be able to do.

            • Dragonconservative

              The voters determine the morality of their country by electing the President, House, Senators, etc. And yes, the death penalty is necessary killing, because those murderers, or whatever they are, need to be “taken out” in order to ensure the safety of the innocent. If we, as a society, do not keep these people off the street, we’re taking the chance that he might harm someone again. The point is that we keep the rest of society as safe as possible. And no, I don’t consider the death penalty to be a matter of dollars and cents. But remember, you are the one who referred to abortion as a population control measure.

              If I was the father of an Iraqi child killed unnecessarily, yes, I would hate America for it. But I would also thank America for liberating the Iraqi people from Saddam.

              I am not imposing my morality. Once again, I’m saying that unnecessary killing is wrong in cases where we can prevent it, ie abortion in cases other than rape, incest, and death of the mother.

  • Larry, I have voted every time since I was 18 – even when I lived in Europe – and I do not understand why people don’t vote, either. I once dated a woman who grew up in the USSR and she didn’t vote. She told me she just didn’t think about it.

    We have to accept the reality that our lives are generally shaped by people who are just… uhhhh?

  • Just a quick comment from somewhere it is compulsory to vote; it changes things more than you realise at first glance.

    Throughout Australia it is compulsory to vote at state and federal elections. We don’t vote on nearly as many positions as you apparently do, just our local member(s) and senators.

    The result is less divergance in the political space between the two major parties. Also remember that our parties don’t break ranks like yours seem to regularly, but vote along party lines near exclusively.

    The end result is a system where both parties compete for the centre, far more so than yours do. In a ‘get out the vote’ system, there is far more need for a ‘radical’ or ‘extremist’ stance to ‘energise the base’.

    The other thing is our parasites jump ship with government, except for those directly tied to the brand of the government of the day. As such, they cannot afford generally to be as partisan in their approach, nor as deeply entrenched as yours.

    I think its a good thing to have to vote, although some resent it. Still, ballots that are not filled in or filled in poorly generally only make up 5% of the vote, so although there is a degree of resentment, most ‘make it count’ once there.

  • I find it hard to believe that so many Repub voters stayed home. It might have something to do with the faulty software that Romney campaign was using. Or did they already give up on the country?

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