No Good Excuse For Not Voting

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - October 20, 2010

Dear Citizen,

It’s that time again. Our civic duty that occurs every two and four years is upon us, and you know what that means - less than half of you who are eligible to vote will and more than half of you who can vote won’t.

One question: Why? What is it that compels a citizen of this city, state and nation to not take the time to vote? Before you answer, please be reminded of the adage, “Excuses are like okoles - everybody has one.”

If you, dear citizen, are one of those who don’t participate in our political process, I’d like to remind you of a couple of things. First, there are thousands upon thousands of graves that are the final resting place for men and women who died for, among other things, your right to vote.


Do you think the people of Cambodia had a choice to vote out Pol Pot while he was drenching The Killing Fields with his people’s blood? How about those in Uganda destroyed by the regime of Idi Amin? Over the years, just how many lives were lost trying to escape from Cuba and the tyranny of Castro?

Our country is founded upon a representative democracy. The key element for its success is the participation of the people, either as elected leaders or voters. The essence of America is our ability to choose those among us, regardless of race, creed or station in life, who we believe will represent our collective ideals and desires.

If we fail to participate, we are not only besmirching the memories of those who died to defend us, but we weaken the very political system that is the envy of all who are oppressed.

I have heard a myriad of reasons from those who don’t vote. “I only have one vote. It won’t make a difference.” “It’s all fixed.” “It doesn’t really matter who wins, they’re all the same.” “Politicians are nothing but a bunch of crooks.” “I don’t have time to vote.” Etcetera.


OK, I understand the cynicism that pervades politics. But for every Elliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, Charlie Rangel or Larry Craig, there are countless politicians who are serving their communities with honor and dignity.

And if you say you don’t have time to vote, you are either lying or you literally don’t have 10 minutes to spare over a period of several months. C’mon. You can’t fill out an absentee ballot or walk in to Honolulu Hale or take advantage of a state law that allows you two hours away from work to vote on Election Day? Maybe, we should put the ballot box next to the remote control. That would boost the numbers.

Dear Voter, we need you to cast your ballot. I would be disingenuous if I said I didn’t care how you voted because I believe there are major differences between candidates. But I believe greater participation equals a stronger community.

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