I’m past the age for peer pressure and I'm too strong-willed for intimidation. Attempts to shame and sway me will have the opposite effect. So much so, that I would not recommend anyone try it.
Bringing this train of thought about are TV channels flooded with commercials regarding the election. They pop up every four years with the presidential election. Most urge everyone to "get out and vote" and help spread the untruth that every vote counts in the presidential election.
Recently, I saw a commercial that attempted to shame nonvoters. It didn’t sit well with me.
After looking into it, it has been determined that encouraging voter participation helps increase turnout but inducing feelings of shame had a larger impact. So, shaming works better than encouragement? Hence, commercials with a focus on shaming nonvoters.
This commercial announces that how you vote is protected information but anyone can check in on your participation. What if your family, friends and neighbors discovered that you didn’t vote? Shame, shame, shame.
Nonvoter shaming has absolutely no place in society and it won’t work on me. Check this: I haven’t voted since 1993. Bill Clinton promised to prevent my job from going overseas and the first thing he did was sign the North American Free Trade Agreement into law.
If you don’t remember, NAFTA was meant to eliminate most trade barriers between the three countries. What it did was created a giant sucking sound as my job and the jobs of many other Americans relocated. Mine, shortly thereafter, went to Mexico. My trust went with it.
At that time, I made the decision that I would not vote again until campaign promises – guarantees made to the public – are more than lies to garner votes. As far the presidential election, I would also not vote until presidents are elected by majority vote and my vote actually counts.
In the U.S. no one is required by law to vote in any local, state or presidential election. According to the U.S. Constitution, voting is a right and a privilege. Many constitutional amendments have been ratified since the first election. However, none of them made voting mandatory for U.S. citizens.
I have the right to vote or I can decide not to vote. Regardless of my decision, my status as a U.S. citizen is intact. My right to protest is intact. My right to voice my opinion is intact. My right to vote, if I so choose to do so in the future, is intact.
Shaming nonvoters isn’t the answer. It definitely won’t work on me. What would work is requiring politicians to uphold their campaign promises to regain my trust and making every vote count. Do away with the Electoral College. Allow the president to be elected by popular vote. Then, and only then, will I consider voting during the presidential election.
Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.