VOTE 2008

By Meghan Smith
April 3, 2008

San Jose Mercury News/MCT

“I would vote for McCain but I’m not going to vote.”

This simple sentence almost gave me a heart attack. If you would vote for someone, why aren’t you going to?

Not enough people see the importance in voting and then complain when things don’t go the way they think they should be going. I’m not even just talking about political elections.

People complain when their favorite singer gets voted off American Idol. Well, did you call in or text your vote to 1-866-IDOLS-02? Nope. Sorry. You don’t have the right to complain.

The same goes for politics. Complaining about the war in Iraq? Crying about health care? Hate Bush? Did you vote? No? Well then stop complaining.

I often hear people say that one vote won’t make a huge difference, one vote won’t change anything. Well, I beg to differ.

In 1880 one vote elected Thomas Jefferson president. In 1868, one vote in the U.S. Senate saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment. In 1889 Oregon was admitted to the union by a one vote margin. In 1911 an average of only one vote per precinct passed women’s suffrage in California. In 1923 one vote made Adolph Hitler head of the German Nazi Party. In 1994, the U.S. House of Representatives enacted a law banning specific classes of assault weapons. The vote was originally tied but one member changed his vote to approve the ban.

So as you can see, one vote does matter.

Complaining is a natural habit for most of us. We do it fairly often and with ease. It has taken me 19 years to come to one simple conclusion about complaining, it doesn’t change anything.

So if you’re unhappy about a situation, do something about it. Vote. Speak your mind. And if you didn’t vote, don’t complain.

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Meghan Smith

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