Open Letter to the “I don’t care about politics crowd”
Dear Mr. or Ms. Cynical Voter:
Voting is about policies and not politics. Policies are a defined course of action that the government takes to help and protect the citizenry. Politics is a politician’s strategies and tactics to gain a position of power and to leverage support for or undermine legislature. But people like you conflate the two when making excuses for simply not caring.
Therefore, in my opinion your “I don’t vote because I don’t care about politics” is simply cynicism, which is a trait common to pessimistic thinkers who always look on the dark side, believe, and think the worst about things.
Women Suffrage was not about politics. Women wanted changes to policies that prohibited states from denying men regardless of “race, color or previous condition of servitude” the right to vote [1870 15th Amendment] but permitted states to deny women the same right. They fought for changes in policies that prevented women from owning property and kept them from having any legal claim to any money they earned. They wanted to do away with policies that subjugated women to just that of housewives and mothers.
The non-violent civil rights marchers in 1965 who were attacked by state troopers while crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama did not risk life and limb because of politics. They didn’t endure beatings with nightsticks and whips and choked violently from tear gas for politics. They wanted changes to policies that discriminated against black voters in the South. They risked their lives for policies that would give them equal access to the ballot box.
My letter is not asking you to change your mind about voting. I’m not even going to go into my usual spiel about voting is a duty of every citizen. My letter is to hold you accountable for not voting. There are hundreds of important federal policies that are protected by voting for the right candidate or risked being abolished by voting for the wrong candidate. Like safe drinking water, safe bridges, roads, and tunnels. Policies that keep banks and credit card companies from defrauding consumers are at risk when there is low voter turnout.
Here are a few other important federal policiesthat could be adversely affected when people like you don’t vote and a challenge to you:
Medicare and Social Security are policies of the federal government that provide health insurance for people 65 or older and benefits to retired people (which they paid into) and to those who are disabled. The politics around these policies is that some Republicans in Congress want to block grant Medicare to the states and privatize Social Security as a means of reducing the national debt. Democrats want these policies administered by the federal government in order to protect them from mismanagement by the states and from vultures on Wall Street.
I challenge you to stand before an elderly person in your family or church or community and say to them: ‘I don’t vote because I don’t care about politics which means that I don’t care about you having Medicare or Social Security. So if you’re expecting me to vote in order to protect your health insurance or make sure you have retirement benefits, forget about it.’
In essence that is exactly what you’re saying when you declare that your disgust with politics is so egregious that it keeps you from the poll to ensure that policies that benefit the elderly and disabled are protected.
Medicaid and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) are policies of the federal government to make sure low-income parents, children, seniors, and people with disabilities have health insurance and food to eat. The politics is that some Republicans in Congress have tried to block legislature that would fund these policies while giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans because they believe these policies are a burden on the national debt. Democrats are determined to make sure the least amongst us have access to medical services and an ability to buy food.
I challenge you to stand before poor children and say to them: ‘I don’t vote because I don’t care about politics which means that I don’t care about your little behind not being able to go to the doctor or have food in your stomach. So if you’re expecting me to vote in order for you to eat, forget about it.’
College Financial Aid is a policy of the federal government to make federal dollars available to citizens who want to go to college, technical school, and graduate school but need help paying the full tuition. The politics is some Republicans in Congress are adamantly opposed to providing financial assistance to Americans. Democrats are BIG proponents of providing federal assistance for higher education because they believe that a well-educated society is an asset to the country.
I challenge you to stand before a classroom of high school seniors and their parents and say to them: ‘I don’t vote because I don’t care about politics which means that I don’t care about you or your child not having enough money for college. Not my problem. Get a job at McDonald’s and call it a day. So if you’re expecting me to vote in order for you get financial aid, forget about it.’
So Mr. or Ms. Cynical Voter, vote or not vote. It is your right, your choice, your decision. But just admit that you don’t really care about your country, how it’s governed, or how its policies impact your life or the lives of your fellow citizens because your declaration of “I don’t vote because I don’t care about politics” is just your own POLITICS.
That’s my yada yada and I’m sticking to it.
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