Today I ran across an individual who believed in 'not participating' in the political system, to the point of not even voting; and yet they lead a 'Freedom Initiative' movement that is working to audit the Federal Reserve (an action I do indeed agree with very much). However, Its my opinion that not voting, this person has indeed abdicated their citizenship and indeed for me their opinions regarding the Political Landscape in the United States. Not voting is turning over and ceasing to fight (rhetorically) and surrendering to the whim of whom ever is in charge; not voting and complaining about government is not only surrendering to the whim of such government, but complaining without doing any think to positively effect said government.
As I go through the Constitution of the United States, I see the vote and participation of the Citizen a requirement for the maintenance of this Republic. In order to keep the Republic from slinking into simple “mob rule” of Athenian Democracy, the Founders established a Representative Democracy in the Legislative Branch of our Government through the House of Representatives. All bills involving revenue and its generation (taxation) must start in the House, the PEOPLEs Representatives chosen directly through the democratic process in each district based on population size in order to get the best representation possible across the land (and by no means perfect, and currently exploited in many cases sadly). In the beginning, until the 17th Amendment in 1912, our Senators were chosen by our State Legislators, this separated the democratic process from the direct democracy into the representative democracy that prevails through the rest of our government. Since we chose our State Legislators directly, they in turn would vote for the Senators based upon their obligations to their State Constituency. This created a bit more of a 'refined' wing to the Legislative Branch of government, as the Senate is where treaties and other affairs that affect Foreign Policy are decided. Now, we have more direct control over our Senators, and I can't say its the best thing as now it seems we have greater mob rule in the Senate... But I digress, voting is still critical no matter if we vote directly for the Representative, or we elect a State Legislator to chose our Senator. Ben Franklin's quote about maintaining the Republic comes to my mind on this issue.
While I find myself getting angry and blurting out “YOU DON'T VOTE? DON'T BITCH!” quickly followed by “Maybe we should remove your citizenship and turn you into a resident” I'm not going to actively seek to do that. No, the idea doesn't make me a Fascist, those that think so should compare and contrast the Fascists to the Communists and re-assess. I'm not a Fascist, I'm a Federalist, and one that believes strongly in taking responsibility for the maintenance of my beloved Republic. While I rhetorically hammer folks for failing to do so, I have NO INTEREST in actually carrying it out. In many cases such shocking language is required to get some people to stop and think about their apathy and its impact. I'm furious at the 30% turnout at the polls during elections. My point with those conversations is to indeed get folks to get off their butts and out to the polls. Those who don't believe in this cornerstone of this Republic should indeed be ashamed. Besides, when you cease to vote, no one needs to take your Rights as a citizen away from you, you just cast them aside yourself. All I do when I mention the heavy handed 'stripping' is point it out... And advocate for your protection as merely a resident.
When asked how would they would go about changing the government without voting, this person responded with the question of how can we change it with voting. What a stupid response. Its just an evasion, just like the very politicians we seek to remove from power by simply voting for someone else. Sure, voting isn't the perfect way to ensure our government remains the protector of our natural God given rights, however it sure as hell beats a bloody removal from power of a dictator that takes years to really build up for. Every two years, we overthrow by force of the ballot, sections of our government be they local, state or federal. In a lot of cases, we keep the same people. Thats part of being a Representative Democracy (and if you don't know what Representative Democracy is, you need to remove your head from your cranium and LEARN something, thereby becoming a better informed Citizen, and I daresay VOTER).
When we vote, and things don't turn out our way, we have every right to be angry, and we still have recourse to express our opposing points of view. Even when a person is elected to an office, they have obligation to protect the rights of all their Constituents, no matter if they voted for them or not; and they are accountable to them. What we have witnessed here is the failure of many politicians to realize this duty to protect the rights of all Citizens; not the failure of Representative Democracy and the ballot box. Instead we have the perfect storm of Voter apathy, corruption of Government, and failure to fulfill duty. Because the Voter participates in the system, they have every reason to experience righteous indignation and anger. The non-participant, abdicates theirs by virtue of failing to partake in the most basic, and important, office of our nations government, Citizen.
Voting is, by its very nation, the Citizen applying force against the government. Force need not be violent and deadly like we first visualize when the word 'force' is used. Force of will is what it is. If the framers of our Constitution didn't believe in the awesome responsibility of Citizenship and the power of the Ballot Box over Government, we'd have been left as peons and peasants with not ability to Vote from the get go of the Constitution. Peons and Peasants can't vote, and are required to accept their lot in life and submit to the Citizens who can vote, hold property, and carry arms. Our Founders understood this well, and unlike the Roman Republic, and those that followed up until our Constitutional Convention, they worked to ensure all Americans were Citizens (even if the final draft conspicuously left the Slaves and Native Americans out of the picture... It is interesting to note that Ben Franklin went on to be one of the leading Abolitionists of his day... It was indeed a political concession in order to get the Southern States to ratify the final draft of the Constitution, that the process of Amendments was written in to support such changes).
For me, it is utterly alien to believe that Voting is trivial and pointless. The results vary greatly, however it is my obligation to vote. I feel compelled to vote, even though I know for certain that things might not always turn out exactly my way (300 million Americans, I'm sure not everyone thinks like I do...). Too many Flags over too many graves stones for me to not vote. But then, if you don't think that American servicemen die to secure such Liberties, by all means, continue with your apathy and ignorance. If you don't vote, how do you plan to change government and secure your rights? Revolution? Thats the way it seems some folks are going right now... After all, look at what those 14 Democratic State Senators did in Wisconsin... They knew they'd be defeated and just decided not to vote, jump state, and ensure the Unions had time to gather a storm of protestors with the intention of intimidating the peoples chosen representatives and governor into changing their minds about public employee collective bargaining.
To me, not voting is a cancer to this Republic. Its motivated by apathy, or anarchy. Neither is conducive to the continued health of this Republic.
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