My transition back into daily life after returning home from Tulum has not been an easy one. Four hours of sharing my adventures with my wife turned into four hours of sleep before four hours of dealing with a stranded vehicle. During all of this we took turns driving my daughter around to have some adventures of her own. We celebrated my wife’s birthday after a long siesta and somehow managed not to implode — although in all fairness, there were casualties.
I am saddened by the fact that my daughter might not be able to work the polls in the upcoming election as she has worked so hard to do. In all the chaos and confusion she missed her last opportunity for training. While there will certainly be other opportunities to work in future elections, I fear there may not be the same incentives to participate outside of the academic environment.
The idea of participating more than two to four times a year in our Democracy isn’t very enticing to most people, and with good reason. Since my return, the debate in our local elections has become quite bitter, as rumors have been spreading about one candidate’s financial supporters and another’s alignment with Children’s First principles. The only incentive that most of us have to participate is to defeat the bad guys and earn the right to complain about the results, as the old saying goes.
In response to this problem, Russell Brand launched a revolution that focuses on voter apathy. He explained that apathy wasn’t the fault of the voters, it’s the by-product of the system that fails to represent our interests. We’re delivered packages with promises which are seldom ever seen and rarely address our needs. The solution, according to Brand, is to stop supporting the current process by not voting.
Instantly I see flashes of the bad guys winning and fear I have lost the right to participate in the Democratic process. The thought of not voting runs quite contrary to all of the Voice of Democracy awards I won in High School. How could not fulfilling our one basic duty help change anything? Much like the Occupy Movement, these answers aren’t coming from Brand. In order for the revolution to succeed, the answers need to come from the bottom up, from the residents of our local community.
Regardless of their political affiliation, our Representatives were placed there to represent their constituents. This requires a conversation that happens more than once every few years on a system that is more up to date than punch cards. While I struggle with the thought of not voting, I find it equally difficult to discern between truth and lies in their campaign promises, and would much rather send them a message on Facebook.
What do you think about participating in the Democratic process in the 21st century?