Commentary: Uninspiring choices are no excuse for not voting

By Jeff Swanson

After seeing various letters from readers that talked about voting and not voting, it compelled me to write something that stresses the importance of voting.

I remember when I was younger and being so excited to vote when I turned 18. My parents instilled in me the importance of voting. I have voted in every presidential election since that day, and voting is my way to express myself and make my voice heard. I take great pride in voting, and I just don’t see the new generation that is coming up being excited about voting like I and so many others were.

Granted, politics and politicians are not very inspiring in this day and age, but voting is so important, and I wish young people would realize how important it truly is, and that one vote can make a difference. It has been proven time and time again, and young people need to realize this.

I personally do not care whether people are voting for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton or anyone else. I know who I am voting for on Nov. 8, and I will always respect anyone’s choice. What I cannot respect is any individual who complains and complains about politics, yet refuses to vote and has the ability to do so. I feel like any person who does this forfeits their right to complain.

When you have the ability to participate in our election process and simply choose not to, then it is very hard for me to listen to your complaints about our system and politics in general. If you don’t like the main candidates, and I understand why many don’t, there is always a write-in option. Or you can vote for the Libertarian or Green Party candidates, or many others. There are many options besides Trump or Clinton.

I know our presidential election process is not perfect. I will be the first person to say it is far from perfect, and so I understand why some potential voters or non-voters are very frustrated with the system we have. I will also say that our Electoral College is very outdated.

With that being said, please don’t let these things deter you from voting and making your voice heard. When people are upset and frustrated at our two-party system like they are this year, and understandably so, not voting is not a solution at all. When a high percentage of our population refuses to vote, the people that are not doing their jobs in Washington, D.C., will not be voted out and the problems will still be there.

Not voting empowers politicians who are not doing their jobs, and keeps them in office. I know people will never change their minds on this subject, but if I can change one person’s mind with this commentary, then it is all worth it. Please vote, and make your voice heard this November.

Jeff Swanson lives in Everett.

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