Why Every Excuse for Not Voting Sucks

Seems like everyone has a reason why they haven't voted yet. That sound you hear is my brain trying to make sense out of the excuses people give for willingly giving up one of their most precious rights. 

Early voting is currently underway in Nevada. The numbers are underwhelming which is surprising because the grassroots have been active, engaged, and busy: we’ve turned out at events, made phone calls, given money, hosted house parties, and rallied on the causes we care about. 

While phone banking tonight, I encountered a fair amount of people angry about the volume of calls they've been getting reminding them to go vote. I know that we're not all the same. I know everyone has different ambitions, priorities, and life situations. But one of the things that binds American citizens is our democracy. In this country, our vote is our voice. So what happened?

I honestly don’t know. But here’s some things I do know: 

Some people say that their vote does not matter. Tell that to the 12 Nevada candidates who won their primaries this past June by less than 10 votes. 

Some people say Obamacare hasn’t delivered what it promised. Tell that to the millions of Americans who are receiving healthcare for the first time in years. 

Some say that the media is liberally biased. Tell that to the Fox News investigative journalists who lost their wrongful termination suit after the Florida Court of Appeals ruled that Fox is under n
o obligation to tell the truth.

Some say Democrats are indifferent to war. Tell that to the thousands of military personnel who are home after a fruitless war in Iraq.

Some people say that the Republican Party does not create fear around specific issues. Tell that to the authors of the 2012 study conducted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln that found that “conservatives are fundamentally more anxious than liberals, which may be why they typically desire stability, structure and clear answers even to complicated questions."

Some say a margins tax or any imposition on mining or other industry would be devastating for our business climate. Tell that to the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development which touts the tax advantages of owning a business in Nevada as (a) NO personal income tax; (b) NO corporate income tax; (c) NO inheritance tax; (d) NO franchise tax; and (e) NO business inventory tax.

Some people say that the children are our future. Try telling that to Governor Sandoval, Mark Hutchison, or other Republican colleagues who frequently cut or raid the education budget to pay for the loss of income from tax write-offs or incentives given to big business.

Some people say that small businesses are the heart of America. Tell that to the Supreme Court who decided that corporations are people.

Some say election reform isn't necessary. Try telling that to the little guy candidates who watch helplessly as the Koch Brothers, who are worth more than $40 billion EACH, fund innumerable PACs and donate millions to Republican and Tea Party candidates and causes.

Some say in America, everyone has an equal opportunity. Tell that to Nevada's African American small business owners who comprise less than 4% of Nevada’s small businesses.

Some people say that they're fed up with a two-party system. For those, I say the answer is not to give up voting. The answer is that you work your butt off to make a 3rd party candidate viable enough to play in the proverbial sandbox. Not voting isn't an effective means of political protest. Giving up one of the rights that makes us uniquely American is not rebellion - it's a misdirected slap to one’s own face. 

Some people say that voting doesn’t matter. Tell that to our country’s ancestors who literally sacrificed life and limb for the right to vote.
Some people say there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans. Tell that to the thousands of unemployed who saw their unemployment benefits extended because of Democrats forcing the issue in the halls of Congress, or the thousands of military personnel who returned home from war in Iraq, or the LGBTQ members of the military who no longer have to hide their sexual orientation, or the hundreds of transgender men and women in Nevada who no longer have to fear retribution from employers or landlords because of their status, or the millions of undocumented waiting with baited breath for House Republicans to hold a vote on the comprehensive immigration reform bill, or the seniors who are living on fixed incomes because their life savings were wiped out by Wall Street greed.  Tell them you can’t tell any difference. 

Or tell them this: Former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter (D) is 90 years old and still building homes for Habitat for Humanity. Bill Clinton (D) founded the Clinton Foundation and is working on  finding international solutions to global problems. George W. Bush (R) is painting and having barbeques at home in Texas. 

At the end of the day…..

Democrats believe it is the responsibility of government to care for all individuals, even if it means giving up some individual rights and/or subordinating enterprise and initiative. Democrats support equal rights and opportunities for the working and lower classes, as well as the right to civil liberties that protect individuals from the government's interference. 

Republicans believe that each person is responsible for his or her own  lot in life. As a general rule, government's role and reach is limited. Business is "king" and Republicans tend to believe that lower tax rates promote spending that leads to a strong economy.             

Some people say that if you don't vote, you forfeit the right to complain. And that would be true. But more to the point, if you, you're going to contribute to a much uglier tomorrow. Do you really believe that the middle class is going to fare better under a Republican leadership?  You think restricted voter access, women's reproductive rights, marriage equality, Wall Street greed, civil rights issues and more aren't on the chopping block? 

Here’s the bottom line: if you’re okay with having illogical and dangerous gun laws, severely limiting or eliminating women’s reproductive rights, putting prayer and or the lessons of the Bible in the classroom; if you believe global warming is a hoax, that big business is fundamentally honest and has no need for regulation, that people don’t deserve healthcare or food or a living wage because of personal choices they made in life; that Social Security and Medicare are entitlements equivalent to welfare, that “equal justice for all” as stated in the Pledge of Allegiance doesn’t really mean each and every person, then it doesn’t matter if you don’t vote. 

But if you care, even just a little bit about humanity, social justice and equal opportunity for every human being, you’ll get out there and vote and you’ll vote the Democratic ticket up and down the ballot. You’re not going to prove a point by not voting because the alternative, that YOU will help create, is frankly, much, much worse than whatever personal frustration you currently feel.

I get it that you might be angry or turned off or even uninterested. But you've got two choices: you can go go vote or you can take credit for helping destroy everything we've been working toward this past decade. Unless you're desperately ill or caring for someone who is, or you're in some dire life crisis, you've got to go vote. 

But, after all this, you still think your reasons for not voting are valid, just know that I think your excuse sucks

Oh, and about those phone calls? There's one sure fire way to make them stop. GO VOTE. 

My best to you,

Marla Turner
The Blue Nevadan
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