Some people have described me as an elitist. I balk at such a categorization for the sheer fact that on the whole I consider myself to be a rather average American single childless educated black woman. I’m probably above average intelligence but I have no delusions of being some how made superior to anyone else. All the things that I have struggled to equip myself with do enhance the person I am and I do believe myself to be a great person with a long way to go to achieve all my potential, but I am well aware of my flaws. In any event a superiority complex is not the inspiration for the title and contents of this blog post.
Democracy, as theorized is.
What is a democracy? Merriam Webster’s defines a democracy as a government by the people.
How effective is a government by the people when the people themselves don’t care enough to participate? When it has so little value that it can be completely ineffectual for the people and their interests and yet they can essentially do little to change it because it has become mired in two party system politics laced with special interest money and lobbyists who make the decisions. Add to this that the very election process that decides who will represent the people has been dumbed down severely with simplistic campaign ads and still, still people do not have the interest to make their voices heard to the point where campaigns bordering on threats such as “Vote or Die” have to be implemented.
The basis of my question is, what is a Democracy without an informed people?
Answer: What we have now.
It is only a theory put into practice that fails.
And when we continue to uphold the system by encouraging uninformed voting, we contribute to the failure of this system. Because uninformed voting is not what the framers of the Constitution and this nation had in mind. It is what the people who run our government in its most current form have in mind. The idea is that we would all choose the candidates we felt best represented us but you can’t begin to know that when you know nothing about the candidates at all.
And many people will vote party line but how many people actually even know what the very party they boast they are apart of stands for? The history of it and what it is actually doing on Capitol Hill? Who is even trying to secure such information?
I can tell you the vast majority of the American population is not. And they don’t care.
Voter apathy is an issue that plagues us but I can assure you politicians sincerely don’t care about it unless it may bring about negative results when it comes to re electing them. They contribute to creating the apathy by leading misleading campaigns with promises that are so ridiculous it’s a wonder people even buy into them to begin with. And portraying these falsified views of their family and private lives so that they can sell themselves as pristine until the scandal leaks about their sordid affairs or the money they are taking under the table. And they go to Congress and showboat for years hardly getting anything done and return home during the election cycle ready to erect the next Big Satan to scare you into re electing them or else some horrible doom should befall us all if the other candidate were to get into office.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
We are contributing to the deplorable cycle in Washington D.C. by not demanding better. But we can’t demand better until we know truly who we are sending there in the beginning and we acknowledge the shoddiness and down right intelligence insulting that is going on with current campaign politics.
We must decide to be informed. We must decide it for ourselves.
I will not encourage anyone who doesn’t want to vote to vote. Because it is a pointless exercise without any thought behind it and it only contributes to the system that ignorance and party fanaticism has created thus far.
The most I can do for anyone is to tell them to become informed. That small step could change the course of this country more than repeated voting for do nothing Congresspeople ever could. We can’t begin to have a change unless it starts at the very, very bottom with us. Emphasizing the importance of staying politically aware, taking government classes at some point and just demonstrating some interest in the world around you are all important parts of being a member of a Democracy. It starts with us. It is about us and we cannot shake off the shackles of corruption on our government by continuing to excuse ignorance amongst ourselves.
Before you vote, care enough to know.
That has to come first in my mind or the rest is a futile exercise of a right that we do not really value. And what is ultimately the point in that?
I don’t advocate taking the right to vote from people who don’t wish to exercise it. It should be everyone’s right. But if you’re going to exercise it make the absolute most of it. Make it matter.