In humble attempt at casting this in the tradition of Socrates, a (slightly altered) quote:

"The unexamined vote is not worth casting."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Register to Vote by Oct. 6th in Virginia!!

The VP debate is tonight, and signals the coming end of this whole, crazy, year-and-a-half long process (way too long if you ask me). And so we're to vote now that it's coming to a close right? SO, if you haven't registered, register up!! The deadline to register is sometime in the next four days for almost half of the US--VA's deadline is Monday, the 6th. Info on registering, along with where to go to vote on Nov.4th and how to vote early/absentee, is available here (by the way, you may qualify to vote early if you work outside of the city or county where you are registered; details here for VA, though info for any other states can easily be found by searching online for your state's "board of elections"). As this note from the Obama site points out, things have been close in the past, so your vote matters (whoever you cast it for):

"In 2004, George Bush won Nevada by less than 2.5% of voters, New Mexico by less than 1% of voters, and Colorado by less than 100,000 votes. In Ohio, Bush won by just over 100,000 votes -- less than 10 votes per precinct."

In VA, Senator Jim Webb, a Democrat, only won the state by 9300 votes--so your vote can make a big difference, and, you may know someone who lives in a state that matters even more than your own; considering giving them a call if so.

Now for a plug about why to vote though--whatever side you fall on in the election, there are steps both candidates say they will take on issues such as changing our health care system, setting tax rates, staying in or leaving Iraq, and so on. We are partly responsible for putting into place one of those sets of policies with our vote. So, if a candidate we voted for lowers tax rates, takes us into a given war, or makes health care more or less available, we have to take partial responsibility.

Trouble is, we have to claim some of that responsibility even if we don't vote. I say that because in not voting we're saying, in essence, that the differences between the candidates' proposals (and character) doesn't matter--and I will argue with you to the grave on that, if you'd be willing to. Their differences are huge--ending the war in Iraq (Obama) versus continuing it (McCain); tax cuts for the wealthy (McCain), or not (Obama); tax credits to pay for health care (McCain), or a major reworking of the health care system (Obama); etc., etc. There are differences and the candidates don't claim that there aren't; they represent different philosophies on what government should be and how it should be used. Both claim their approach to governance is the better way to organize people together in a society for the good of the whole--though, I would argue, the good of the few has defined the Republican approach to governing.

As a final note, I would urge you to consider a simple, but potent quote from Plato I've mentioned on here a few times before (the quote, I should say, came to my attention through Phillip Atticus, a neat blog done by a family friend of mine):

"The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."

We get what we ask for, basically, with our vote, our activism, or, our lack of involvement. That said, if you want to have some say in what happens with our country, register to vote here, or go to your city or county's local website, as most have information available on how to register--and consider volunteering and help push for whatever way of governing you agree with!

P.S. - This comes from someone who, unfortunately, didn't even vote in the last two presidential elections. I suppose that makes me all the more interested in encouraging others to get involved; I've felt the differences between being neutral and being involved--and boy, is there a difference. If our country is not helping the most vulnerable, we can sit on the sidelines or we can push to change that; if the wealthy mortgage lenders are screwing potential homeowners by giving out homes to anyone who will take them, then we should call for politicians who have consistently showed interest in regulating business in sensible ways; if health care is not working for many, we can call for it to change. (Or, of course, if you fall on the other side of those issues, you can get out there to fight for and defend them as well.) We can't rewrite the laws ourselves, but we can push for the laws and the politicians behind them to change.

No comments: