Get Fired Up
I have a question for you. What the $@*! is wrong with people???
Okay, I’m sorry. Today, in case you have temporary amnesia, is election day. I voted. I hope you did, too. I’ll admit that I hope you voted for the same people and propositions as I did. But even if you didn’t, I hope that you voted. It is IMPORTANT, people.
I’m not going to get into the politics of it. I’m not going to argue for or against anything that is on the ballot. I’m just trying to argue for the ballot itself. If you didn’t vote, why not? Assuming you are legally allowed to vote in this country, why wouldn’t you? If you are in a coma or otherwise literally unable to get to a polling place or absentee ballot, then fine, I’ll forgive you. This one time. But why oh why would you choose to be apathetic?
I don’t get it. I don’t get people who don’t care. Oh sure, you don’t have to care about every single ballot initiative. But surely there is something on there that matters to you. GMO’s, porn stars and STDs, unions, and capital punishment – these are just a few of the issues on the ballot here in California. But you know what’s on the ballot all over the country? THE PRESIDENT. How can you not care about who will be the next president?
There is a stereotype that you often see on TV shows and in movies of the American teenager. When asked what he wants for dinner, he says, “I don’t care.” When asked how he feels about the loss of a friend or girlfriend, he says, “I don’t care.” When asked what he thinks about some culturally relevant event – guess what he says? “I don’t care.”
But you know what? We can’t be apathetic teenagers forever. And I hope my son never will be that apathetic teenager. I don’t think I ever was. Sure, maybe I wasn’t passionate about each and every issue, but I had issues I cared about. I always did. I mean really cared, deeply cared, to the point of arguing with my not-so-easy-to-argue-with father, or disagreeing with my very persuasive sister. I cared enough to write papers about certain issues when we got to pick our own topics for essays in school. EVERYONE HAS TO CARE ABOUT SOMETHING. Right? You can’t be apathetic about everything.
Anyway, today I went into the polling place feeling blissfully naive and assuming that everything will go the way I want it to go today. Then I go onto social networking sites and see how many of my friends appear to be annoyed by those of us who express excitement and/or passion about issues on the ballot today. They actually want us to keep our mouths shut, or even to be apathetic. That is not okay with me. That should not be okay with you.
So get fired up. Do what our forebrothers and foresisters fought hard for us to be able to do. Speak up, dammit. Vote. And shout it from the roof tops afterwards. If you annoy a few of your friends, fine. At least that means they care about something, even if it’s just how annoying you are. Apathy is infectious, and I refuse to catch it.