photo by Mirah Cruzer

To those who don’t want to vote, but can

In this special edition of The Middle, why you should vote.

By Alex Kamczyc / Edited by Julie Riedel

Get out and vote

When I started this column, I was sitting on a stool at one of the tables in the restaurant I work at (political writing doesn’t pay enough, go figure). It was the morning shift and since the store primarily delivers during the night, I had time to brush up on the issues for this midterm election and begin covering it.

My coworker looked over at my computer screen noticing that when I write, I write aggressively and loudly until I take a few minutes and stretch obnoxiously. My manager at the time also looked up from his phone to see what was going on.

“What are you writing about?” my coworker asked, making small talk to fill the dead air in the deserted, but open store.

“I’m starting a column about the midterm election in Ohio, covering what’s going on and what not, why it’s important to vote.”

I was greeted by a groan from both of them.

“I’m so sick of people telling me to vote,” she said looking at her phone. “If I want to I will.”

I tried to explain to them both why this election was different, reciting all the information I gathered in my first column. Eventually I was drowned out by complaints that those elected into office don’t do anything to help them. Or that they don’t actually have their best interests in mind.

As if this gave them a right to not be apart of the national conversation. As if it isn’t us that has a responsibility to our country, it’s them: the politicians and only the politicians that owe us a better future.

Ugh.

Get out and vote.

I understand you aren’t the only one that feels this way, it’s a collective thought of not acknowledging your responsibility. New York Magazine recently posted an article interviewing 12 millennials on why they probably weren’t voting this midterm.

The reasons these people decided they wouldn’t vote ranged from the classic “my vote won’t matter” (which it will), “I don’t have time,” (yes you do), to “mailing my information to vote will give me anxiety,” (huh?). None of these reasons exclude you from voting, none of them are good enough.

These things are cyclical, some people won, and others didn’t, but that doesn’t stop there. You can try again to make a difference, right what you feel is wrong, shape the future how you see it. Ensure that what you felt during the election doesn’t happen again.

If you don’t have time to go out and vote, you receive a ballot in the mail, it takes ten minutes to fill out and another five to mail back because they provide everything for you to do so. You get anxiety dealing with the post office is just not a good excuse, plain and simple.

If you don’t like what our government is doing, you can vote them out of office. You can keep them in office if you want to. They are your public servants, they have to answer to you at the end of their terms.

You can’t escape this anymore, it’s time to participate.

Get out and vote.

This isn’t Shark Tank, or Dr. Phil or Real-World Road Rules. Although, these two years Trump has been in office has seemed like all of those reality shows mixed together and drugged up on steroids and cocaine. What happens here affects us for the rest of our lives, you won’t even remember what happened on Real World until the recap intro on the next episode.

All it takes is less than an hour of your time on Tuesday, even less if you fill out and mail an absentee ballot in to be counted. It’s time to be apart of a bigger conversation than just what’s going on in the 30–45 minutes a scripted show will give you. It’s time to take responsibility for your country, because it’s not what they’re doing, it’s what we’re doing.

If you’re a Republican, a democrat or an independent vote. Also, for the love of God don’t vote third party out of objection to the candidates like John Kasich did during the presidential election. What did that prove?

Just don’t sit around tomorrow or the next day, week or year wishing the world would change when you couldn’t get up and start that change by casting a ballot.

Get out and vote.

Alex Kamczyc is an award winning journalist covering politics and culture in Cleveland. He studied at Kent State University under Connie Schultz.

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