September 25 was Voter Registration Day in the United States — an unofficial reminder to people to do what needs to be done now so they will be eligible to vote in the next national election on November 7.
Why Do So Many Americans Choose Not To Vote?
The majority of Americans don’t vote. We carry on about democracy but when it comes to actually participating in the democratic process, we remain on the sidelines. Why? There are a number of reasons. Voting takes time. Lots of people work two or even three jobs while raising children and dealing with all the pressures of modern life in a 24/7 world. Finding a few hours to stand in line at a polling place is difficult.
Many of us are sick to death of the political process. “A pox on all their houses!” we cry. Most of our so-called leaders are crooks and liars, feathering their own nests at public expense. Where once John F. Kennedy spoke about Profiles In Courage, today’s politicians offer us little more than profiles in cowardice.
It is no secret that political organizations deliberately create campaigns designed to turn voters off and convince them to stay home on election day. The thinking is that the rabid party faithful — the so-called single issue voters — will go to the polls anyway while those who are horrified by all the mud slinging will stay home.
And guess what? It works. Voter turnout in America continues to drop as more and more people avoid the voting booth. Politics in America has become so toxic, lots of people want nothing to do with a process in which the objective is no longer governing but simply seizing political power.
Many Would Like To Vote But Can’t
There are lots of people who won’t be able to vote on November 7 but wish they could. Love Vote is an organization that connects some of them with eligible voters. The goal is to get those who can vote to go to the polls and cast their ballots to support those who can’t. It’s another way of encouraging people to participate in the democratic process.
You can visit the Love Vote website to learn more about people who want to vote but are barred from doing so. While you are there, you can promise to vote on their behalf on election day. It’s like a GoFundMe campaign except there is no money involved. You don’t even need to vote in favor of the candidate your Love Vote buddy favors. All you need to do is find time on election day to go to your polling station and cast your ballot.
Vote For Duncan
On a personal level, I want to ask you to vote for someone who can’t vote himself. His name was Duncan. He was a scrappy kid who took his duty to country seriously. When he graduated from college in 1967, he signed up for Officer Candidate School with the US Marine Corps. Within a year, he was a Marine lieutenant serving in Vietnam.
On the day after the 1968 election, Duncan’s unit was attacked by the enemy. A “Bouncing Betty” mine suddenly appeared. Those crude weapons — little more than hand grenades — were buried a few inches underground. When tripped, they bounced just high enough into the air so the explosion would inflict maximum damage to the torso of anyone in the area. Leg injuries are bad. Torso injuries are more likely to be fatal.
Duncan recognized the threat to his men immediately and threw himself on top of several of his Marine comrades to shield them from the blast. He died, but several Marines lived to fight another day because of what he did. The funeral was closed casket. His name is inscribed on panel 39W, line 30 at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.
Why am I telling you this? Because Duncan gave his life in defense of democracy, the right of people to elect their own leaders. If he were alive to day, I think he would be appalled at how the government he fought and died to defend has become a captive of corporate interests and people who would sacrifice us all for money and power.
How do I know? Because he was my college roommate. We had many a long late night discussion about the state of the world. Duncan was passionate about his love for America. If he were here, I know he would be the first one at the polling place on election day.
Duncan can’t vote in the election this year but his sacrifice means you can. If you need a reason to vote — something that will help you find the time in your busy schedule — do it for Duncan. I know he would appreciate it.
For you Twitter users, please make Duncan’s sacrifice meaningful. Share his story with the hashtag #VoteForDuncan. Maybe it will go viral and get more people out on election day to cast their votes in this very important election. I know Duncan would thank you.