One of the most hotly contested elections in recent history will be decided today. It seems everyone who has a voice is encouraging people to get out and vote. Today I saw something that I find deeply disturbing. I saw posts from two people with military experience refusing to vote.
Let me say that I understand that not everyone will vote. Some people don’t care. Some don’t understand. Some don’t feel like they are well enough informed. Here’s my problem: these people entered a profession in which they put their lives at stake for our ability to vote. Now, they also protected the right to choose. So they have every right to exercise the ability to abstain. The issue is that they expressly stated that they will still complain about the outcome of the election.
The posts stated that they didn’t like any of the candidates. They included all of the Presidential, congressional, and local offices in this blanket statement. My response to this is that elections aren’t about liking a person. It is about choosing the person who you believe will best perform the duties of office. There are many candidates that I don’t particularly like or dislike that got my vote. I simply believe that they are the best candidate for the job. You don’t get perfect choices in this world. Complaining about it does nothing. You have to do something. If that means choosing the best person for the job now and working to support a better person later, then that’s what you do. What you can’t do is refuse to choose, and then complain about the choices everyone else made.
I was discussing this with my wife and she had a wonderful analogy for the situation (of course, it’s a food analogy because she’s a chef and her mind works in food). Let’s say a person was at a party and the group needed to order pizzas to feed everyone. Each person was polled about the toppings they wanted on each of the pizzas. If you don’t really like any of the toppings you could choose to abstain. But by abstaining you give up the power to complain about the toppings chosen by others. If you cast your vote, even for toppings that had no chance of making it onto the pizza (let’s say anchovies), then you could complain about the decisions. This is the burden of choosing to abstain. My immediate response to anyone who refuses to vote will be to ask what they did in the election to improve the situation. Doing nothing will never improve the state of affairs.
So even if you feel uninformed…get out and vote! There are multiple tools out there to help you choose the candidate that fits your beliefs. Here are a couple:
These sites make it easy for you to choose your candidates. There is no excuse for not voting other than pure laziness. Just remember, if you exercise your right to abstain….that includes your right to complain.