The 60% Problem: Nonvoters are #1

Our system isn’t broken; our voters are. In a perfect world, every politician would be an honored guardian of our plural rights. But perfection is bust; it will never happen. Even if it would, who do you want determining perfection? So, before we blame others for our problems; have we done our part?

A little over 61% of eligible voters voted during the 2008 general election. “Hope” was on its way. But then came the 2010 midterm elections and only 40% voted. I agree, greed has become a psychopathic problem and causing society in general to decline. But, my beef is with “the 60%”, the percentage of eligible voters who didn’t vote in the 2010 midterm elections. These are the percentiles that allowed the problems and decline of the middle class.

     “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” – The Declaration of Independence; adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.

The text of the second section of the Declaration of Independence is profound with its closing; “Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness.” But there are three other things that comes before “these truths.” Lets go down the checklist:

Self-Evidence: Do we really believe and practice the truth of self-evidence? Are we willing to take the power to be definer of ourselves? Or do we decide to be submissive and allow others to control our destiny?  This maybe one of the hardest things for someone to do. But, to participate in a “self-evident” you, you must make you own decisions.  Do you make our own decisions?

“All Men are Created Equal”: Be honest, lets look at the AVENUE Q Broadway song, “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist.”

 Princeton: Could someone like me go there?

Kate Monster: No, we don’t want people like you-

Princeton: You see! You’re a little bit racist.

Kate Monster: Well, you’re a little bit too.

Princeton: I guess we’re both a little bit racist.

Kate Monster: Admitting it is not an easy thing to do…

Princeton: But I guess it’s true.

Kate Monster: Between me and you, I think.

Both: Everyone’s a little bit racist sometimes. Doesn’t mean we go around committing hate crimes. Look around and you will find no one’s really color blind. Maybe it’s a fact we all should face everyone makes judgments based on race.

We all have our opinions about people who are different than we are. But most of us don’t think they should be treated less than we’re treated. That said, they are people in power who do believe the “all men are created equal” concept is bull. Some believe one has to have a particle shade of pigmentation, worship a particle god in a particle way and/or must have the ambition to have more than your neighbor. These are just a few of the qualifiers some people put on others to become their equals. Do you allow those who require a qualifier to determine your equality?

“Endowed with Certain Unalienable Rights”: Do we have the self-confidence to empower ourselves with these rights. Or will the lazy bug infect us with emphatic cause? We can only be powerful if we use power. We will be powerless if we forfeit to an ambitious minority. Are you lazy? Or are you an active participate in your rights?

“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”; are the three returns for being self-evident, respecting other’s rights and endowing ourselves with these rights. Our system doesn’t work if we don’t participate in it.   We can have our three returns; but we must work for it. That is the basic code of the middle class. But, what do we do with “the 60%” who threaten our way of life?

Elections take millions of dollars. Usually, local governments pay for the bulk of the expense. If minorities of the eligible voters vote, it cost the same as if 100% vote. Should these expenses be pasted on to the nonvoter?

We already require candidates to pay a fee to register in an election. This helps eliminate insincere candidates. All states require some form of petition for presidential candidates to appear on their ballot. Our judicial systems charge court cost to those found guilty of their crimes. And if we don’t show up for jury duty, we get a warrant put out on us. So why shouldn’t we tax those who don’t participate in elections?

Lets say it takes $500,000 to hold an election for 100,000 eligible voters in county X. The election cost the county $5 per voter. But only 40,000 of the 100,000 voted in the election. The remaining 60,000 voters would be sent a bill for $5. If not paid, a warrant (like a warrant for not showing up for jury duty) would be issued for their arrest. Then the nonpaying nonvoter would have to pay the $5 and then the court cost for their arrest.

Sure, they’re logistically issues to iron out. How are total “eligible voter” numbers determined? What are the fines for not paying the nonvoter tax? And if we have to participate in jury duty, why shouldn’t we be required to vote? Should the tax really be a fine?

I believe there are additional things that may help solve our voting crisis. Things like the right to vote for no one; an empty office is sometimes better than an office full of bull. Also a combination of majority, censuses and rejection voting methods, as opposed to the absolute majority method we use today. But, I’ll keep those ideas to myself for another article or two. Lets just concentrate on the nonvoter penalty.

We, our elected officials and anyone wanting citizenship in these United States, are required to honor the constitution and bill of rights. Shouldn’t we be penalize for our non-participation in this requirement? Are monetary fines worthy of such mistrust? Or is de-citizenship more appropriate?

The After-Drama

The last show of my play completes its curtain call. The audience claps. I think, thank god. I toast my cast and crew and declare, “It’s been a rocky road, but it’s been scenic.”

I gather my valuables from the stage. As the writer, I’m numb to the idea of a next step. This is only my second produced play. What’s next? I tell myself to finish what you have to do in the theater and go home to bed.

The next morning is different, but not any better. I decide there’ll be a next step. But the tricky part is, I have to decide what that next step is. Do I have to make the decision now? I take a cautious breath and collect myself. I need to sleep on it. But it’s eight in the morning and I’m at work.

“I’m not feeling well, I’m taking sick leave,” I tell my supervisor.

“I don’t blame you,” she replies.

What does she mean? Do I look that nerve wrecked? My god, I’m going to have a nervous breakdown. I grab my backpack, sign out and get through the exit doors.

I call my friend to tell him I took the day off. I really want someone to put this thing in prospective for me. I hope he can.

He does in one word, “decompression.”

I’m like a diver who went too far down too fast. Now I need decompression time. I need a good decompression chamber. I get home and go straight to bed. I crash instantly.

I wake two hours and several dreams later. I feel less crushed. But still feel overly indecisive.

It’s time for my next decompression cycle. I pick up the book I’ve been reading. It’s a book about writing. I start reading.

“Don’t forget you have an imagination,” hits me like a spot light. Have I forgotten my imagination? Where did I put it? It’s one of the things I love the most.

Sure style, process and grammar are important. But without imagination, my words are dead. A photograph is only the tool to express the image. The photographer needs the image first then he can put it on film and develop it onto paper.

I realize this doesn’t answer my question. What is my next step? Or is the question, what is my first step?

One of the greatest crosses for me as a writer is to focus my imagination enough to put it down on paper. Sometimes the ideas are too numerous. But I must choose to write something. Or I am not a writer.

I go to my next stress reliever. I start filling my bath with warm water. I sit in the tub feeling the water rise around me. I close my eyes and let my mind settle.

After a few minutes, I open my eyes to check the depth of the water. I proceeded to settle again in my relaxed state. I notice that a large chip of paint has peeled off my bathroom door frame.

Should I find a new bold color and paint the whole door frame and the walls? Or maybe I can just paint it over with the same color. But I have a better idea.

Why don’t I find a new color for the door frame to match the color of the walls around it.