Conventional wisdom teaches us that voting is supposed to be what makes democracy tick. Textbooks would have us believe our greatest act of public participation comes from the single ballot we cast that contributes to the election of our political leaders. But really, stop and ponder this: how many times has a single vote made the difference in an election? If you happen to live in a dinky hamlet in some abandoned corner of nowhere, then maybe your vote will someday “matter”—if only in deciding an election that doesn’t.
As for the rest of us, we’re deluding ourselves if we believe voting is the best or only way to make our voices heard in our democracy. Voting is a passive activity that enables citizens to tell themselves they’ve participated.
I’m not saying “don’t vote”—rather, “don’t only vote.” Do more. Take part actively in the public dialogue. Supplement your electoral enthusiasm with more productive forms of civic engagement.
If suffrage is the symbolic heartbeat of freedom, its legwork and brainpower both come from civic participation. All citizens have a right to be informed, and to be engaged in public affairs. Such civic involvement requires that you proactively take part.
Use your voice; it’s the most powerful instrument you have as an ordinary citizen. Use it in every way you know how.
You can exact far more change with your voice than you can with how you vote. That’s why no one has ever been sued for how they vote.
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Our high school civics teachers got it half-right. They convinced us that it was our responsibility as citizens to vote.
But the blind dictum that everyone must vote (no matter how ignorant or out-of-touch they are), somewhat misses the point. Many of us never got that voting is as much a privilege as it is a responsibility.
If we partake in that privilege without giving it the respect it requires, then we haven’t fulfilled our responsibilities at all. (more…)
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Posted in Afghanistan, Charlie Wilson, Charlie Wilson's War, citizenship, Cold War, Comins v VanVoorhis, cruelty to animals, First Amendment, free speech, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, George Crile III, Gust Avrakotos, Hollywood, Michael Vick, Mujahideen, Russia, SLAPP, Texas, United States, tagged Americans, animal cruelty, Charlie Wilson, Charlie Wilson's War, Christopher Comins, civic engagement, dogs, First Amendment, free speech, history, movies, pets, Politics on August 10, 2010|
Posted in Charlie Wilson's War, Chris Comins, Christopher Comins, citizenship, cruelty to animals, Custom Fab, First Amendment, Florida, free speech, freedom of speech, George Crile III, law, Michael Vick, NASA, Orange County, Orlando, United States, tagged animal cruelty, Central Florida GreeneWay, Christopher Comins, civic engagement, Comins v VanVoorhis, crime, dogs, Elections, First Amendment, Florida, free speech, huskies, law, Orange County, Orlando Florida, pets, pit bulls, shooting dogs, Siberian huskies, U.S. Constitution, United States Constitution, USA, violence, voting, Walt Disney World on March 27, 2010|
Posted in academia, Adam Smith, Bill O'Reilly, blogging, campaign finance reform, free speech, funding agencies, Hillary Clinton, Milton Friedman, politicians, Politics, United States, V for Vendetta, tagged academia, Capitalism, censorship, civic disengagement, civic engagement, corporations, corruption, democracy, economics, education, empathy, inequality, journalism, law, media, Money, nationalism, patriotism, Politics, propaganda, spectatorship, USA, voting, work on January 27, 2008|
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“How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those who are more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable. But again, truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.”
-V for Vendetta
I wrestle often with the issue of who’s to blame for the wounded state of my country. Usually I take the easy road and I gripe about the usual suspects—the stacked trifecta of politicians, the media, and big business.
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