Bottom of the barrel

No taxation without representation

It may surprise you to know I am one of those “swing voters.” I don’t swear allegiance to any one certain party, but it’s no surprise if you’ve read my previous editorials which way I tend to fall.

When it comes to voting, politics and the whole elected governmental establishment, part of me would rather just throw the lot of the candidates into a ring and have them go fisticuffs to see who would win. One big, primal, hell in a cell cage match would be much simpler and surely the revenue would compensate for a big chunk of the deficit—or would it?

In the 2008 election, Americans had the highest percentage of voter turnout since 1972, yet that still represents only 57 percent of the population. Compared to the 1860 election’s turnout of 80 percent (when Lincoln was elected), it’s a fair statement to say we’ve become complacent in our democratic process.

In fact, the U.S. is at the very bottom of the barrel when it comes to the percentage of eligible voters who turn out to the polls and cast a ballot. It beckons the question: Do we even care about this country or what it was founded on?

One of the first and earliest lessons all school children are taught deals with the Boston Tea Party and the statement of “no taxation without representation.” Few people, I fear, know what this actually means. Allow me to explain: It meant that in 1773 Bostonians were extremely mad that a bunch of wigged, pompous lords were taxing them from 3,110 miles away. It’s happening now, just in a different way.

The social ladder in America is becoming harder and harder to climb, and more and more we are seeing that all it takes to win an election in America is a cocky smile, nice hair and a truck load of money. Money is a driving force, but in my experience it’s never been a quality I look for in a candidate. I never look at a political sign and say, “I should vote for him because his constituents can afford a big sign.”

The American Revolution stood up for the common people because they were misrepresented in congress. The same thing is materializing in congress right now. In the last year, more restrictions on women’s health have been enacted without women being represented. Decisions for the impoverished are becoming a norm with social programs being drastically slashed and no one has asked them what they thought about the conclusions. School funding for all schools, K-12 and at the university level, are dropping drastically. At a more close-to-home level for most of us college students, Pell Grants and FAFSA loans are being threatened.

I say that’s bad logic. There is a good example of a junior congressman who I seldom agree with, but do admire. His name is Justin Amash, and he’s the most transparent politician I’ve ever seen. He posts via social media and his website his vote and logic as to why he voted the way he did on every issue that comes across the house floor. As I said before, I don’t agree with half of the way he votes, but his transparency is admirable.

I wish all politicians were this obvious, but the fact is, 40 percent of American voters can’t bring themselves to get off their fat arses and down to a polling facility, so why does it matter? It matters because the decisions these guys are making will directly affect you, and it will affect your very life and livelihood. Don’t let someone make a decision for you without speaking up! You have the right to do that in America; use it!

We need to keep tabs on our elected officials. As Americans, it’s our solemn duty to protect this great land even if we’re not conscripted to do so. We need to pressure our government if we see something that isn’t right with the country and make them fix it—that’s why they’re elected, after all! We do this with voting, with making sure every voice is heard. Not voting is just saying, “I don’t care. Here, let me bend over; I’ll take it.”

If you chose not to vote, that’s your own choice, but don’t cry about being raped by a statute if you didn’t say something about it. I’m not going to take it– standing or otherwise.