Why we need to vote: People more interested in TV than elections

It’s a sad day in America when citizens are more interested in TV than voting in an election. Guess America is pretty sad, at least when reviewing a couple of statistics.

Americans should get off their duffs and vote/Thinkstock

An amazing 99 percent of American households own at least one television, the A.C. Nielsen Co. says, while the U.S. Census Bureau notes a non-amazing 64 percent of voting-age citizens cast a ballot in the 2008 presidential election.

While the stats are not exactly parallel, they offer the general drift. Please pass the tissues.

In Pima County, voter turnout is even lower. Although the county is packed with 479,620 registered voters, the Pima County Elections Department reports a paltry 168,342 bothered to participate in the August Primary.

That’s a voter turnout of about 35 percent. That’s also beyond apathetic and bordering on comatose.

Not only will voting on Election Day Nov. 2 serve to wake up this comatose county, but it comes with a host of advantages.

Those who vote are never guilty of being an armchair critic. Armchair critics are the loudmouthed, discontent people who want to rule the world from the comfort of their armchairs. Think Archie Bunker.

Although armchair critics may not know or understand much about government, they are famous for complaining about anything remotely related to it, from policies to politicians – yet they never even bother to get off their duffs and vote.

People who vote have a valid right to complain since they did their part to change things.

Voting also forces people to gain at least a bit of intelligence. After all, it only makes sense they would need to learn about the candidates and issues on which they are voting. This excludes, of course, those who pick candidates willy-nilly based on name or hair color, the same folks who pick sports teams based on uniform design and logo.

But at least they are getting out and voting.

A sense of community is another plus. Those who show up at the polls get a chance to chat with others who take advantage of the right to vote. This offers a sense of camaraderie and may even sprout new friendships, especially if in agreement on who the next governor should be.

Cost is another factor. Voting is one of the few things in life that is truly still free. Sure, the monies to cover elections come, in part, from government coffers, which are stocked, in part, from the public. But the actual act of voting does not require pulling out a credit card or searching the car floor for spare change.

Even the mail-in ballots come with prepaid postage.

Take advantage of the free stuff while it’s available, before some political genius figures out a way to incorporate a non-refundable fee or lifetime monthly installments.

Also take advantage of being heard. Like it or not, individual voices in a democracy only count unless they are accompanied by a darkened little circle or the pull of a lever.

That’s the only way to speak out, so speak out Nov. 2 at the polls. Don’t sit around and do it from an armchair.


Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and TucsonCitizen.com Ryngmaster who mailed out her ballot last week. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. Her art, writing and more is at RynRules.com and Rynski.Etsy.com. E-mail rynski@tucsoncitizen.com.


NOTE: Ryn is on vacation and will return the week of Nov. 8. Her radio show will still air Wednesday, Nov. 3 at Party934.com. CLICK here for radio show details.

What do you think?

Are you registered to vote? Do you vote?

Who are you voting for this time around?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at ryngargulinski.com.
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19 Responses to Why we need to vote: People more interested in TV than elections

  1. leftfield says:

    Well, I always vote.  On the one hand I believe as our good friend Uncle Karl said, “Every few years, the working class is allowed to vote and decide which members of the ruling class will oppress them until the next election” (I paraphrase).  On the other hand, I am a big fan of democracy.  So much so that I am hoping it will catch on here in America someday. 

    • recov_progressive says:

      Right on. We should follow the example of Soviet Russia, North Korea, China, Cuba, etc.

      psst.. we are not a Democracy in the USA.

      • leftfield says:

        Right on. We should follow the example of Soviet Russia, North Korea, China, Cuba, etc.

        psst.. we are not a Democracy in the USA.

        I was thinking more of the example of, say, Brazil; a country that just elected a Marxist former guerrilla as President.  Not to worry though, when the time comes, you’ll surely be able to vote and choose between a conservative socialist and a progressive socialist. 

    • Rynski says:

      ha! thanks – i will join in your hope, leftfield.

  2. tiponeill says:

    The odds of being run down in an automobile accident on the way to the polls are higher than the odds of your vote changing the result of any election.
    (That said I always vote – but is an exercise of hope over reality).

  3. Carolyn Classen says:

    I think the actual Karl Marx quote is:
    “The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”
    Very clever to remember that leftfield as we head into the General Election 2010 tomorrow.

    • leftfield says:

      Thank you, Carolyn.  I’m shocked and pleased that anyone other than myself would remember that little quote. 

      • Carolyn Classen says:

        My father used to quote Karl Marx all the time, but his favorite was that “religion is the opium of the masses.”  Plus I studied a bit of communism in my time as well…

  4. Alan in Kent WA says:

    Here in the P.R.S, the voting is mail voting.   I drop off our ballots at the Board of Elections as opposed to trusting the US Mail to get it there.

    There are some people who don’t vote.  However, if we don’t vote, then someone else gets to choose.

    • Rynski says:

      i’m a mail-in voter myself – MUCH easier.
      after living in northern cal/southern oregon i agree with you out in wash. to drop off your ballot
      sometimes it took WEEKS to get my mail…

  5. Oakland says:

    I vote, I cant wait to have this over with so the political adds will get of my tv.

  6. Shotgun Slade says:

    Voted EARLY! ALWAYS vote. Otherwise I need to shut up about candidates,  the issues, the process, past and present politicians, et al… etc… 

    I also want those gawd-awful MUDSLINGING political TV, radio ads, signs and billboards to disappear by Wednesday at 12:01 AM!

    If they don’t I’m warning ya! I’m a-going out with my SHOTGUN and taking them all down myself! And I don’t care who you think you are!

    Y’all hear that? 

  7. I’m a convicted felon (2 ½ years for $40 worth of grass).   Technically, I can get that right restored.  The only thing standing in the way is money.  Lots of it.  Probably more than I’ll ever be able to come up with (employment prospect aren’t exactly great with folks like us).  Same thing with the right to own a gun, although as far as firearms are concerned, my ambivalence knows no bounds.  There’s really nothing short of the complete collapse of civilization that would make me consider getting one.  In which case,  having permission to do so would kind of moot.
    But before my time with Arizona’s fine private prison industry, I voted in every election from the time I was old enough.  It’s actually turned out to be a good thing.  I had to find other ways to make my opinion count.  I had to get involved.  Maybe everyone who loves freedom should lose it at some point during the course of their lives.  I suspect they’d be less likely to be so quick in taking it from others.  Then again, maybe not.

    • cochisecitizen says:

      That’s a sad story, Michael. I’ve never understood why we take voting rights away from felons – they have as much rights as every other citizen after serving their time, except for voting. I think something like an IQ test might be more relevant when it comes to voting rights.

    • Rynski says:

      thanks so much for sharing your experience michael – and geesh, sorry to hear about the 2.5 years for $40/grass. give me a break.
      also thanks for your insight – “Maybe everyone who loves freedom should lose it at some point during the course of their lives” – as well as your example of turning a loss of voting rights into something positive and getting involved.

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