BY SHARON MARTIN
The Greek statesman, Pericles, had a word for people who don’t educate themselves politically or make an effort to vote: useless. Citizens, he said, were “fair judges of public matters” and bring “daring and deliberation” to politics. He saw an Athenian “who takes no part in these duties not as unambitious but as useless.”
Non-voters are not just useless – they’re dangerous.
Secretary Clinton won the popular vote, but in those swing states, what if everyone had voted? If a candidate’s approval rating is in the 30s and 40s and everyone votes, is there a way he or she can win?
It’s also important that every vote be counted!
In the past few months we’ve seen just how quickly the democratic order can collapse. When the president and his henchmen commit to a full-out war on truth, equality, and human rights, and when the checks and balances that have worked for more than 200 years are undermined or ignored, it is a short, steep slope to dictatorship.
Where are Congress and the Senate in all this? Is the GOP really ready to give away our democracy just for the right to confirm one more corporatist Supreme Court justice? It would seem so.
Mitch McConnell has already shown his colors by refusing to allow a vote on Merrick Garland, a well-regarded centrist. It’s activist judges or nothing, if I may quote the far right.
Before it is too late, we must vow that we won’t be useless. Encourage friends and neighbors to vote. But, first, do no harm!
Educate yourself on the candidates and the issues. Candidates come with a history. Know that history before you vote.
I can’t believe half of U.S. voters are willing to sit this next election out, allow one party to transfer the wealth and the power of this country to a handful of citizens, and let a dictator wannabe destroy the progress of 200-plus years.
America has never been perfect. We don’t have to forgive the religious intolerance, the sexism, and the racism. Instead, we look to the sound principles created for rich, white men that are gradually, usually after a hard fight, being offered to the rest of us.
Forget originalism. When the Constitution was written, women and Africans were property. Instead, we must protect what the Constitution has become and is becoming before we lose everything to hatred, greed, and the psychopath in the White House.
Elections have consequences. Vote, dammit!
And know for what and for whom you’re voting!
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. Her latest book, Not A Prodigal, is available through Barnes and Noble. Her recent children’s book, Froggy Bottom Blues, can be purchased in hardcover or paperback from Doodle and Peck Publishingand in paperback from Amazon.