I was cautiously optimistic when the polls opened on November 4, 2014 but I became more depressed as the day progressed. By the time the polls began to close in state after state, I found myself staring blankly at the television screen and wondering why so many people fail to vote.
The percentage of eligible voters who actually vote in the Presidential elections is bad enough but the percentage that vote during the midterm elections is even worse. To be frank, the percentage in both election cycles is abysmal. How can we be so nonchalant about such a prized right and toss it into the trash – that’s exactly what we do when we do not vote – the same way we would toss out a useless scrap of paper?
People in other countries who are not allowed to vote for the leaders of their choice would love to have the privilege of deciding who will lead their country. America regularly advocates on behalf of those in foreign countries who are fighting for democracy, which includes the right to vote. There have been times when, in addition to applying political pressure, we have even put Americans in harm’s way to assist those who were struggling to establish a democratic society.
We have insisted that elections in these countries be fair and above board and that there be no election tampering during the election process. Yet, we struggle with keeping our own elections process fair and above board; if we do not, it certainly appears that we do.
There are a number of situations that occurred during these 2014 midterm elections that didn’t pass the smell test but it is very unlikely that anyone can really prove that there was a skunk in the woodpile. In other words, although there were some very curious occurrences in some of the states and it looked like someone was cheating, the likelihood of actually proving that they were is miniscule. Time and again Florida has been a perfect example of these occurrences.
Pundits express a number of reasons as to why the Democrats took such a shellacking on November 4th. They said things like; it was President Obama’s low poll numbers, the economy didn’t improve, the economy was improving too slowly, although the economy improved – it improved too slowly and most of the American people did not feel its impact upon their daily lives, President Obama has been a weak and ineffective leader and blah blah blah blah blah.
The Republican Party defined all of these things and Democrats throughout the country swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. Instead of campaigning on all of the positive things that the Democrats and President Obama had achieved – he honored the will of the American people, they ran away from him and their accomplishments! Politicians; what can you say about them? Or perhaps the question should be what can’t you say about them?
The fact of the matter is that by deserting the President and refusing to have him campaign on their behalf did much more harm than good.
As eligible voters, we played a key part in this shellacking too. Maybe things still would have gone in favor of the Republicans in a big way but, at least, we could feel comfortable in knowing that this was what the majority of the American people wanted and that it did not reflect mostly what the extreme right-wing or left-wing of that party wanted. I say this with a reasonable degree of confidence that I do not appear to avid Republicans as just another sore loser because of the abysmal percentage of eligible voters who actually vote in the midterm elections.
Those of us who did not take the time to exercise our privilege to vote do not have a legitimate reason to complain about whatever comes next as our newly elected officials unite with their incumbents and begin to exercise their power. The right to vote might be treated like a trivial thing now by some of us as long as we know that we have that right, but let someone even try to take it away from us and I have no doubt that our attitude regarding the franchise would change real fast! The frightening thing about that is that by reacting instead of being proactive we could find ourselves in a harrowing situation.