Evolving Peace

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rock Bottom Vote

Today, the clouds broke and we have a bright sun shiny day. Within the air there are visions of hope. A week ago voters throughout the country overwhelming chose Democratic candidates to change the direction of the country. Thankfully needed but there still is some dark elements residing in the background. The criticalness of the country is showing in the weakness in actual voter turnout. The United States the triumphant of democracy has a deep divide in its civic duty.

Official numbers show that 39.7 percent of Americans voted in this latest election. I am proud that the number here in Vermont is much higher at 53.5 percent but it is still quite disturbing. In Vermont, the election was sparked by an open Senate race, open House race and challenging Governor's and Lt. Governor's races. So when it comes down to importance 46.5 percent of eligible Vermont voters did not even bother to vote. I hear the criticisms of people saying that it makes no difference that they vote but imagine if those 46.5percent voted for one of the third parties just maybe the voice of the disenfranchised would carry greater weight on elections.

A recent study showed that the United States was ranked 130th on voter participation among countries that voting is allowed. Yes, in some of them voting is a compulsory program and some of them are mirrored with voter corruption and weakness of candidate choices but what strikes me is that the United States as a nation is supposed to be the model of democracy but actually is a failure. The President hails his mission of bringing elections to Iraq, but in the meantime here at home voter participation is crumbling.

Voter statistics have shown that there is greater voter participation from those who have obtained higher education and own property. I guess the great American democracy has not evolved much since the days of its birth. Initially, only wealthy white male land owners were given that right but now it has become a selective right by the educated land owners, whether their African-American, white or female. I feel that the American public needs an awakening and that we as a populace shall make sure that each and everyone of our friends and family vote. Our freedoms demand it; otherwise the American version of democracy could just collapse. Some may say that it already has, so in that case the public will restore it.

While there are glimmers of hope within American democracy, there still is need for improvement. That democracy requires all of us to be involved. Democracy is participatory; when we fail to participate we lose it. Throughout the world there are people dying for the right to vote, let us not lose it but use it and let it prosper.

Robb Kidd

"The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment." Robert Maynard Hutchins


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