Over the last twenty years in America, and indeed in many western democracies, many people, especially young people, have felt disenfranchised. Looking at the state of the world’s largest democracies, people are starting to feel as though government is not for them. As a result, many have come to the conclusion that their participation can only serve to prop up a deception.
British comedian Russell Brand is one who has made a cult of personalty for himself on the basis of refusing to vote, and many see the logic in what he says. People feel they are being conned into participating in an electoral process that exists only to trick them into believing they have some control over The Powers That Be. Those who hold this viewpoint feel betrayed, especially in America, where we are all raised hearing about “government by the people, of the people, and for the people.”
What those people, again, especially in America, are failing to grasp is that the reason the system seems broken is because it is broken… because they do not vote. The United States Government, even from before the Constitution we have now, was conceived as government entirely by the people. One of the reasons the Articles of Confederation, America’s “preconstitution” constitution, failed is because it demanded direct democracy. Every issue, every elected office, every law would be voted on directly by the people at every step.
Given that such direct democracy couldn’t even hold together in a country of less than one hundred million, it certainly wouldn’t work for America today, but the foundation of government deriving its authority primarily by the consent of the governed is part of our DNA. When Americans fail to participate in the electoral process, it is no different than a body system failing in a person. Our country gets sick. Right now, our country is ill, and it needs help. Luckily, there is someone who can save us all: You.
America is founded on the notion that you are what a government needs to keep from falling into tyrrany. Especially you, the college students, the young, the ambitious, the informed. You stand between humanity and dystopia. Our founders knew this, and they created a system that absolutely does not work if the people are not in charge. When you ignore or give up your right to vote, you are abdicating your duty to your country, and the govenrment you end up with… that we all end up stuck with, reflects that. All around the world, people wonder if America is asleep at the wheel.
You have the right to take control of your country. Indeed, your country was written that way. We can’t do this without you. The government will be whatever you make it, but first you have to make it.