Every Election is Important
We're getting deep into the 2016 election, even though it's more than a year away. The fields for both political parties are getting plenty of attention for the wild card candidates that have thrown their hats into the ring. There's a level of excitement about the race, but really for all of the wrong reasons.
When Alexis de Tocqueville wrote his famous Democracy in America, he shared his astonishing findings that students left the 2nd grade completely literate. Even more than that, the rates of involvement in the political process were extraordinarily high. In the early 1800s, he met a generation of Americans who had tyranny fresh on their minds. They saw the importance of active participation in the political process as a way to steer the future of their young nation.
Today, voter turnout rates are dismal
, even worse in off-cycle and midterm elections. We're an electorate that, in general, is disengaged in the process. The interest, this year, is because of the nature of the personal attacks and the personalities of a few of the candidates.
Our election system is important regardless of who the candidates are. We shouldn't be curious just to see who will attack whom. We should be interested because our future is being debated. Primaries, debates, and campaigns help shape the national conversation. Who do we want to be? What do we want to do next? Where do we want to go? What issues need to be addressed immediately? These are the great questions that elections ultimately answer. The variety of candidates, many of which know they have no hope of winning, share their views and ideas, many of which eventually get put into party platforms or in nominee policy papers.
Apathy towards the system, only participating in the general election, or not participating at all is at the least a shirking of one's civic duty. At worst, it’s a failure in one’s moral duty. Listen to the conversation, participate in the process, and vote. Thousands of Americans have given up their lives to protect your right to vote.