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Ira Kortum

The power to vote. What does it mean? Why do we do it? Or better yet, why don’t we do it? With the important issues that are on the horizon, have you read up on the implications of what a yea or nay vote will mean, or do you even care? You better care. Here are some reasons why:

Exhibit A: The Bush administration. Anyone here have problems with this guy? I have never seen a president contradict himself so many times in all my life. He comes to visit one of our child outreach programs, gets his picture taken with a bunch of minority kids and then flies back to D.C. and cuts the funding for the same project. He chastises Congress for wanting to work with the U.N. instead of just giving him the power to go to war and then goes to the U.N. himself. Then for the grandest duke bomb of them all, he wants to change the Constitution, amending it so that the system of checks and balances is no longer necessary. All he has to do is say “terrorism,” point a finger and then go to war without Congressional authorization. Watching this man work is like living in a nightmare.

Exhibit B: ASPSU. The latest fiasco is really just flat-out too much. Walking out in the middle of a meeting? That’s just great. Hopefully these will be the people who will be in charge of our country in the next few years, as if the state and federal government departments don’t work slowly enough already. Were all resources really exhausted to a point that walking out was necessary? Oh yeah, our ASPSU senators are doing wonderful and really working together for the students. That is, if all the students want is inaction and melodrama.

Exhibit C: The American war for independence. Yeah, I know, it was a bunch of white, middle-class slave-owners who smoked weed and didn’t want to pay their taxes. But what an idea: government by the people, for the people, so that instead of having a king or a dictator, we ourselves would be responsible for our own destinies. Now, over the last 200 years, how many people have given up their lives in support of that idea? Not just in our country, but others, also taking into account those who died in wars that were not associated with that idea, like the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and so on. It’s a safe bet that many people who were lost in conflicts such as these were holding true to a belief that what they were doing was in the name of America and what it stands for.

Now for the pissed off part.

Countless times, I have listened to people going off about the government, or the student government, or a new tax that was passed or failed, or any number of things that were initiatives controlled by the vote. They cry and moan and carry on. So do what I do the next time you see someone doing this – ask one simple question: “Are you registered to vote?” It’s a trap, you see. If you ask someone flat-out if they voted on what it is that they’re lamenting about, they’re usually quick enough to put two and two together and give the appropriate answer. But, if you ask them if they’re registered to vote, it’s off the subject and most people will give a truthful answer before they even think about it. The number of times I’ve heard the answer “no” to that question exactly matches the number of times I’ve stated after said question, “Quit your whining. If you can’t be bothered to vote, then you don’t get to complain about it.”

So get out there, get registered, learn about the issues, be responsible, and vote. But if you’re too lazy to respect what this country and the people who have given the ultimate sacrifice stand for and take active responsibility for where it’s going, then shut up. You don’t get to have a say in it. Go play the victim somewhere else. We are still a country of doers. A people who at least try to govern themselves. Those who just go along for the ride and don’t contribute can sit in the back of the car.

And no back-seat driving.