Voting is such a boring topic so I figure a rant is in order.
People that already vote, will yawn and say “been there done that…move along…I’ve done my part and now I can get back to working in the yard.”
People who don’t vote will likely have already skipped this column after reading the first sentence, saying to themselves with a double yawn…”why bother…nothing changes…and I am far too busy complaining about all the stuff that is wrong in our town…plus I have yard work to do”.
Pardon my obsession with the yard work, but that also has been at the top of my list lately (to be clear not willingly).
To both the voter and the nonvoter, I say a pox on you both. Frankly I am sick and tired of the excuses from both sides. Hawaii has the worst voting turnout in all of America and it is your fault. It is more than just embarrassing and it should be criminal. Not voting and not making sure others vote, is like walking away from the helm of a ship full of people that is heading for the rocks.
Abdication of your responsibility as a citizen is not something to be taken lightly. If you neglect your job, you can be fired and if you neglect your children, you can go to jail.
But you can neglect your community and get away with it. Many of you don’t even feel guilty about it. Shame on you. Our entire community for generations to come, pays the cost of your neglect and you go about your business oblivious to the harm you are causing.
I am betting that most in the community do not realize that whether you voted or not in the last election is public information. Yes, I can simply look up your name on a data base of voters that is public information and see whether or not you voted. The information available will not say who you voted for, nor what political party you belong to, but it will indicate whether you voted or failed to vote.
Maybe that information should be public, as in posted online or in the local newspaper? Does anyone think that public shaming would increase voter turnout?
As you can tell by now, I am mad as hell and am not going to take it anymore.
To those few who are still reading today’s rant on voting, thank you! We can only manage our community problems and steer our community forward to a positive place, if we all take responsibility for the decisions and decision makers. In desperate situations, sometimes a rant is in order.
I ask that you stick with me for a few more paragraphs, please.
To those who now vote, thank you for doing so but simply filling out the ballot is not enough.
Do I need to say it again? Filling out the dang ballot is not enough and you must do more. You need to take your civic duties to the next level and talk to your friends, family and neighbors; ask, insist, beg them to vote. Then ask them again to make sure they voted. Then drop the hint that whether or not they voted is public information and you will find out (possibly the whole world will find out), whether or not they are lying to you.
To those that do not vote, and perhaps have never voted…I will take a kinder gentler approach and appeal to your higher angels. Please, we need you to participate. And your vote, truly does matter. In the recent Primary Election there were candidates who won or lost by literally a handful of votes. Your vote, the vote cast by those who have never voted in the past, is in many respects the most important vote as it reflects the future. New voters are often the youth, and God knows we need the spirit, guidance, and vision of the youth today.
Finally…to the 5 nonvoters who may still be reading, don’t believe the office of elections when they tell you “The deadline for voter registration is (blank) day.”
I know it is hard to believe that while I tell you with one breath how it is important to vote, in the next breath I tell you that the Office of Elections does not have its act together. But it is true. While they WANT you to register to vote early, there is no requirement to do so, and you can register to vote on the same day that you actually do vote.
Thank you all who have gotten this far, for letting me get this off my chest.
Now, go vote, and bring a friend and neighbor with you. Please.
First published in The Garden Island Newspaper – October 17th, 2018
thanks Gary. another very thoughtful discussion by you. I wish everyone had your determination to make Hawaii a better place. with aloha, Roger Epstein
How do we inspire the young voters ? Those are the ones I am trying to get to vote…….their response is always it doesn’t matter ……..
My question is …how do we inspire the younger folks to vote…? I try… and the response is ..it doesn’t matter …I try to help them understand why it is important to vote but until they see a reason for voting (i.e. an issue that really moves them ) I don’t see the trend changing.
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