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A Rebuttal: Why You Maybe Shouldn’t Vote

By Alexander Pralea, Editor

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Yes, I hear them. Voting is a fundamental aspect of one’s civic duty, they say. Voting is the bedrock of democracy, they argue. Voting is the only way to address tyranny, they declare. Voting is fun, they affirm.

I beg to differ.

In 1921, when Hitler was elected leader of the Nazi party by a demoralizing 542 vote margin (543 party members had voted for him and 1 had voted against him), he began his meteoric rise that would culminate in his orchestration of the Holocaust. [1] It was not until the inauspicious conditions of 1932, however, that democracy, coupled with an ignorant, uninformed public susceptible to hate speech,  resulted in his party’s meteoric soar to the largest party in the Reichstag. Millions were galvanized by his appeal to their frustration with the poverty and inflation of the Great Depression. By succeeding in offering a scapegoat, Hitler proved that manipulating people is not as difficult as one might imagine.

This pattern continues in the present. Ignorant voters continue to vote, imperiling the democratic system Americans hold so dearly. Lacking a basic concept of this political system, they are encouraged by all fronts to vote. This is disastrous, considering that more than half of Americans think that the Civil War, War of 1812, and Emancipation Proclamation occurred prior to the Revolutionary War. [2] Since they know so little, how will they realize that cutting foreign aid spending will do essentially nothing to address the debts incurred by Medicare and Social Security? In an economic disaster akin to that of Weimar Germany, they could fall victim to mass propaganda, as the success of extremist and populist candidates like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders indicates, leading to the election of Hitleresque candidates.

This problem, of course, only occurs if millions of ignorant voters cast their ballots. This is already happening. Millions of Americans get the majority of their news from social media, a source that the 2018 election proved is unreliable. On the other hand, my writing an article will have a negligible effect on overall voting trends. Asserting that a “domino” effect will hamstring the country’s democracy is simply untrue; those that are educated enough to vote and those that are passionate about politics will vote, regardless of my words, which are merely intended to broadcast a dicey and misunderstood opinion. A simple editor on a school’s newspaper does not have the staying power to engender such lasting change.

What does cause lasting change is informing oneself about the nation’s history. Many courageous citizens fought for the rights of Americans to maintain democracy (and, for better or for worse, spread it abroad). By protecting democracy, they did more than protect the right to vote, which can be easily skewed because of radicals; rather, they protected the underlying roots of American society and civilization: freedoms of religion, the press, free speech, and more. Learning about this legacy of rights in the US, the history of peaceful protests, and the country’s political system, is the only way to protect the nation from tyranny.

If you truly want to, vote – only if you are capable of understanding what it means. If you are not capable, do not do yourself and your country the disservice of heading to the polls. Those that are capable of understanding voting have a choice to make: whether or not to vote. Because an individual’s vote is statistically useless (see my previous article for specific details), feel free to stay home if you are busy with other significant responsibilities, namely family and community. For you, taking a nap and watching the Office may just be more valuable, despite what the naysayers may claim.

 

[1] http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/riseofhitler/leader.htm 

[2]https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/06/americans-vs-basic-historical-knowledge/340761/

 

 

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A Rebuttal: Why You Maybe Shouldn’t Vote