I Believe in Voting

Alex - Tempe, Arizona
Entered on November 12, 2010
Themes: democracy
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

What do I believe, you ask? I believe in politics as a necessary means to fair and successful government. I believe that politics gives a country the ability to be a true democracy, and that without politics a government would become a corrupt dictatorship. I believe politics is what makes the United States the leading world power and that it deserves the careful attention and participation on all citizens. I also believe that such participation is lacking in bulk and steps must be taken to fix this broken aspect of the political process.

The percentage of United States citizens able to vote that actually exercise their right is lower in the United States than almost any other developed first world country on the planet. The voter percentage for the previous midterm election, in 2010, swung heavily in favor of the Republican part. This gives Republicans the majority in the House of Representatives, a decisive turnabout for the nation, which will possibly lead to a halt in action from the White House actually being carried out. This is because of the fact that the House of Representatives and the Presidency have conflicting political interests. This change, whether positive or detrimental, was made by the nation and therefore was the opinion of the public. Or was it?

Voter turnout in the last midterm election in 2010 was under twenty percent, actually higher than in 2006. Turnouts in both these years were, however, lower than previous elections leading as far back as 1990. So the question must be asked: if less than twenty percent of the eligible US public voted to turn the House of Representative’s majority over to the Republican part and away from the Democratic party, can it truly be considered a national decision? I believe not.

I, as an American citizen who has yet to complete college, believe that how our government is led is for the nation as a whole to decide, not only a few willing to take the time to send in an absentee ballot. If the President of the United States of America were to announce a national switch from democracy to aristocracy, cries of outrage would be heard throughout the country. But what is the difference if people do not exercise the right to vote by choice?

I am not claiming the country has become an aristocracy or is even heading in that direction, but I believe the right to vote is something that all Americans can proudly declare to have. Our founding fathers worked hard to give American citizens this right, a right that is being exercised far too infrequently. I believe we are fortunate to have the right to vote and it is our duty as American citizens to put it to use. Of course, just as we have the right to vote we also have the right to abstain from voting, but why leave the decision of who governs us to the less than twenty percent who take the time to educate themselves on the voting process and actually proceed to vote? I believe that politics is something worth the time and difficulty of voting.