Caught in the Crossfire: Voting hinders social action

By GJ Frye

United we stand, divided we fall. We are a country that is split right down the middle on almost every issue presented to us. We live in a society that has slowly brainwashed us into thinking we need to have control by taking a side.

It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon for either side of an issue and say you are doing your part as a citizen. But I think there are bigger animals than donkeys or elephants that need to be tamed in our country.  I’m not asking that people refrain from voting; voting is not wrong in itself. I’m asking people who aren’t educated or politically active in the government’s actions to stop voting simply for the sake of voting. Understanding an issue is not the same as seeing a photo online meant to provoke emotions or getting information from a single biased source.

For people that make it a habit to stay politically informed and are wired to find the latest news in our nation, good for you; keep voting and fulfilling your civic duty.
I’m addressing the people who care about the issues going on in the country but don’t have a grounded knowledge about each candidate running for office or each bill looking to be passed.

Recently, my church had elections for board members. My pastor told me he would send me a ballot if I wanted to vote. Just because I can vote doesn’t mean I should. I decided not to vote because I haven’t been going to my home church consistently for several months since I’ve been at school. I had no business voting for people whose character I was not familiar with or issues I only had minor knowledge about. It doesn’t mean I’m not a member of my church, it just means, in this case, voting would’ve done more harm than good.

When uninformed people pick a side, it only furthers the division of our nation. Comment wars on Facebook are not equal to getting involved and fighting for your beliefs. There are more important matters at hand than trying to go out of your way to stay informed. Instead of voting for welfare, actively seek out the ones in need of welfare and volunteer your time. Instead of voting for or against abortion, seek out those who have been emotionally disturbed because of an abortion, and help them to heal. Instead of cramming like it’s a pop quiz, don’t vote for the next leader of our nation. Become socially active in your neighborhood – in your local community where, chances are, the president will never understand its true issues.

I’m not asking people to stop voting. I’m asking people to stop using voting as a crutch. We become so far removed from the true matters, and simply voting for one side or another isn’t enough. Oliver Queen, a Smallville character, said the slap in the face that I think we all need to wake up: “[T]his world of armchair bloggers has created a generation of critics instead of leaders; I’m actually doing something.”

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