Why Waste My Time Voting?

Went to the mailbox this morning and what did I find?  Right, another “Vote for Me” flyer!  I started to throw it away but as I find it difficult not to at least scan any piece of written literature (I use the term loosely here), I noticed it had pictures of both Barrett and Walker on it. I should mention that it also included a third party candidate named Trivedi whom I had never heard of.  I suddenly was very interested in this flyer. Was it a Walker ad somehow lampooning Barrett or was it a Barrett ad somehow lampooning Walker? It seemed very strange having both of their pictures on the same ad. There was a mystery here. Sorry Wilma\Wanda, I could not resist putting these pictures here.  🙂

For those of you who are not from Wisconsin, I should back up a little. On June 5th we are having a recall election for the present Governor named Scott Walker.  Walker is a Republican who has managed to offend a great deal of the electorate.  To his detractors he is an evil villain out to undo 100 years of labor history by marginalizing unions and stripping public employees of their pensions and other benefits. To his supporters and in fact those who voted him in by quite a margin, he is a hero.  To the latter, he is a staunch defender of free enterprise and the rights of the little man who has been plagued by big government and lazy overpaid union workers. 
After Walker successfully attempted to make some changes in pensions and union rights, a large number of Wisconsin residents drew up a recall petition to force another election.  Over 500,000 Wisconsin voters signed this petition. The election is scheduled for June 5, 2012.  Walker has or will spend over 25 million dollars in advertising and Barrett (Former Democratic Mayor of Milwaukee) will spend about 1 million (Since that is all Barrett has).  I have not a clue how much Trivedi will spend since I never even heard of him until looking at this flyer.
So back to the strange mysterious flyer.  Were Walker and Barrett supporting anything together?  Were they somehow saying anything nice about each other?  Could this flyer be some sort of a bipartisan reaching across the aisle, if so, for what purpose?  Did this flyer signal a shift in electioneering from the negative to the positive side?  Reading the materials they have already sent out, it does not sound like they could be in the same room together without hurting each other.  Both have loudly proclaimed each other to be out and out liars.  What could they possibly be doing together to show any harmony or kindness to each other much less to benefit the people of Wisconsin? Was there some sort of subliminal message embedded in the ad that would induce me to vote for one candidate or the other?  I did not want to be too quick to assume any well-meaning intentions in this flyer.  Some enlightenment might be attained by finding out which one of the many “Friends of” committees paid for this ad.
Well, reading on (the Flyer that is) I was pleasantly surprised. Here is what the ad copy said:
“It’s time to do our civic duty.  Be sure to do your duty and vote. The only way to ensure a positive result for Wisconsin is for as many citizens as possible to vote on June 5.  Your Vote is Your Choice.” Paid for by the Legacy Foundation, Iowa. 
A little investigation shows that the mission of the Legacy Foundation is to:
Advance individual liberty, free enterprise and limited, accountable government. Our efforts center around public policy research and alternative policy initiatives in, but not limited to, these core areas: state fiscal and tax policy, the creation of an entrepreneurial environment, education, labor-management relations, citizenship, civil rights and government transparency issues.

I could not detect any conspiracy theory here.  Thus, I was shocked but also very pleased.  Here was an ad (seemingly bi-partisan) that is actually extolling people to vote.  An ad that is not telling you who to vote for but simply reminding people that it is their responsibility and privilege to participate in the most important process in America.  Despite the wars and deaths sacrificed to preserve this freedom, most Americans do not vote.  In fact, do you realize that only about 50 percent of Americans usually vote in the Presidential election and less vote in most other elections?  It is very likely that more Americans will watch the Super Bowl than will turn out to vote in November.  It is also likely than the upcoming recall election will be decided by a minority of the electorate in Wisconsin.  This is not sad or a shame, it is an outrage.  Below are the actual voter figures from 1960 to 2010.
National Voter Turnout in Federal Elections: 1960–2010
This page provides information about voter statistics, including age of voting population, voter registration, turnout, and more.
Year
Voting-age
population
Voter
registration
Voter turnout
Turnout of voting-age
population (percent)
2010**
235,809,266
NA
90,682,968
37.8%
2008*
231,229,580
NA
132,618,580*
56.8
2006
220,600,000
135,889,600
80,588,000
37.1
2004
221,256,931
174,800,000
122,294,978
55.3
2002
215,473,000
150,990,598
79,830,119
37.0
2000
205,815,000
156,421,311
105,586,274
51.3
1998
200,929,000
141,850,558
73,117,022
36.4
1996
196,511,000
146,211,960
96,456,345
49.1
1994
193,650,000
130,292,822
75,105,860
38.8
1992
189,529,000
133,821,178
104,405,155
55.1
1990
185,812,000
121,105,630
67,859,189
36.5
1988
182,778,000
126,379,628
91,594,693
50.1
1986
178,566,000
118,399,984
64,991,128
36.4
1984
174,466,000
124,150,614
92,652,680
53.1
1982
169,938,000
110,671,225
67,615,576
39.8
1980
164,597,000
113,043,734
86,515,221
52.6
1978
158,373,000
103,291,265
58,917,938
37.2
1976
152,309,190
105,037,986
81,555,789
53.6
1974
146,336,000
96,199,0201
55,943,834
38.2
1972
140,776,000
97,328,541
77,718,554
55.2
1970
124,498,000
82,496,7472
58,014,338
46.6
1968
120,328,186
81,658,180
73,211,875
60.8
1966
116,132,000
76,288,2833
56,188,046
48.4
1964
114,090,000
73,715,818
70,644,592
61.9
1962
112,423,000
65,393,7514
53,141,227
47.3
1960
109,159,000
64,833,0965
68,838,204
63.1
*Source 2008 election results: http://elections.gmu.edu/Turnout_2008G.html.
The flyer went on to say “ON JUNE 5th, YOUR VOTE IS IMPORTANT.”  Dam right, your vote is important.  Whether you are Republican or Democratic or Independent, it is the most important right and responsibility that you have in America. It has often been said (In fact, I say it often myself) that “People get the government and the politicians they deserve.”  If you would rather be watching the baseball game on Election Day or some idiotic television sitcom, then you have absolutely no right to complain about your government or the quality of the politicians that serve you in office. My good friend and mentor Sister Giovanni often said:  “People want rights without responsibilities.” 
For more than a generation now, we have been hearing about the “entitlement” generation. This is simply people who want their rights without any responsibilities.  This is nothing but lazy mindless thinking and behaving.  Sister G also said “For every right there is a corresponding responsibility.”  If you want to live in a free country, if you want a choice of who runs your country, if you want to be able to walk the streets a free person with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, you have to pay for it. There are no free lunches. Your payment is the responsibilities you must undertake to ensure and protect the freedoms I have mentioned. One of the most important of these responsibilities is that of being informed. Meaning you take the time to learn about the records and backgrounds of those running for office.  Most important (to restate it again) is that you get out and vote.
Are you registered to vote?  Do you know where your voting place is? Have you arranged your time to fit in voting?  Do you know the records of those running? Have you selected a candidate based on a solid knowledge of facts and not rhetoric? Are you making up your own mind or are you going along with your friends and relatives?  Are you looking at who will do the best job both long and short term or are you only worried about who will help you make the most money in the short term?  Are you as concerned with the social, global, environmental and ethical policies of your candidate as you are with his/her economic policies  Do you realize that without a future there will be no tomorrow’s?  

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