In the United States we have been given a gift from our ancestors who risked their lives to insure that we would be a free and democratic country for the people, of the people, and by the people. Over the years, this country became the beacon of light to the world. We went through many different versions of ourselves, but always there was pride in being American, and an understanding that freedom is only safeguarded by participating in the process of choosing the leadership from local, state, and national levels that would insure that our democracy and freedom would prevail.
My partner and I have been involved in the electoral process as election officials for the past 13 years. We serve as Field Techs for the county in which we live and during each election have 6 precincts that we monitor and assist with technical difficulties. As the years have gone by, it has been very clear that fewer and fewer people vote. We see that the majority of voters are either elderly or immigrants. The immigrants come into the polls with pride and appreciation for the ability to vote, many of them from former repressive regimes where they had no say over the quality of their lives.
In the United States, we see shrinking numbers of voters each year. People are so busy trying to make a living and so disillusioned with politics and the dysfunction of our government that they have opted out of the process, determining that their vote won't make a big difference anyway. In this misguided thinking, they also forget that local and state elections are vitally important to the quality of governance at those levels, and that by not voting, power is given to a few special interest groups who have a definite agenda of what they want from the country, and who are committed enough to their cause to make sure that they ALL get out to vote.
By abdicating one's right and responsibility to vote, we are handing our government over to the few who are dedicated to insuring their success in a view that may not match what the majority wants, but will be the predominant rule because the majority was too busy to take time out of their day to vote, or too busy to educate themselves about what the important races are about.
There is another sad commentary to this turn of events. More and more money is being spent by candidates who have backing from "deep pockets" and the media will naturally gladly take their money in exchange for airing commercials that are intended to sway voters and win the election. In this political reality of today, excellent people who would be great leaders cannot aspire to a role in governing unless they are either wealthy or willing to "sell" themselves to sponsors who will want something in exchange for the donations to the political cause of the one running for office. In this way, we have created a system that is heavily tilted towards special interest groups, those who are wealthy, and those who are willing to sell out for the financial assistance of political backers.
To top off the list of woes connected to this, the consolidation of media into the hands of less than a dozen conglomerates indicates that there is a bias in what is presented and in the intended objective of those who own the airwaves. All of this is counter to the concept of democracy of, by and for the people. What people?
And the answer is unfortunately very simple. The ones who vote!!