Today I wanted to talk a little about voting and how we as a people can use it to our advantage. Whenever election time rolls around (for anything) we all hear the average person on the street, and people in the "conscious" community say "I don't vote because voting doesn't work" or xyz excuse. Really, if you understand how the system we're living in works, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We as a people get screwed over between elections (and every other day), so we don't vote. Since we don't vote, the people who DO vote are the ones who either make the decisions, or choose the people who will make the decisions. And 9 times out of 10 they aren't going to work with our best interests in mind. So, we get screwed over and voting doesn't work (for us)... because we didn't vote. Nothing happens TO us. Only what we did or didn't prepare for.
There are different ways to vote, different issues to vote on, and different areas of life where voting and elections are a part of the decision making process. The 2 that I focus on here are government and business. In government, we vote for the candidate we believe will represent our best interests. That's the idea we're told at least. The candidates may not live up to the "word is bond" principle by doing everything (or anything) that they said they would do, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't vote. Don't like Democrats or Republicans? On all levels of government (local, state, national), there are many other parties besides the Democratic and Republican parties. There isn't much difference between the 2 parties anyway, they just have different ideas on how the same goal should be achieved - overextending America's influence... aka dominance. The other parties usually don't get as much airtime in the media because people don't look into them, or look for them, like they should. Other organizations and parties have other methods of resolving political issues. Some with candidates who may be more open to listening to our demands and working with us to make them happen.
As a people our past experiences with voting have been bitter sweet. From poll taxes to reading tests and threats, to "zoning", registration, and ballot issues we have had to struggle for our right to vote from day 1.
But, whose fault is it when their elected official's fail their word? It's ours. Because they are elected officials, they are suppose to represent us in the government. Politicians work for 2 things, money and votes. If you're not giving them contributions to their next campaign, sponsoring a program that they came up with, or voting for them, then your opinion doesn't really matter. Part of "civic participation" involves keeping your elected officials in check. Attending meetings, contacting them, telling them about the problems you have in your neighborhood or community (and possible solutions), fighting for minority businesses to be contracted by the government on all levels - all of those fights are fights that voting citizens have the influence to fight. If you put a politician in the position where he has a choice between being reelected and a pissed off voting bloc, he will work to solve their problems. Elected officials are supposed to, or claim, that they serve us, so it's up to us to make sure they do that.
The next method of using the ballot to our advantage is in the business world. When you buy stocks, you become a partial owner of that company. Many businesses allow for stock holders to vote on certain decisions the company will make. The issues shareholders can vote on depends on the company, but some of those issues include selecting the executive board/board of directors, deciding on company policies such as whether to develop reports disclosing their spending habits and political support. Just as in the political world, the more people you have voting together for the same cause, the more power and influence that group will have. Buy stocks, and vote.
Stop making excuses to not get involved and stay on top of what the people who influence your life are doing. If you leave someone else to make life-changing decisions for you without checking them, then you can't say anything when they reap the benefits of your work, too. Government and business are supposed to be here to serve us, not give us toys and dreams to chase while they take off with the spoils of our wok in the process.