Improving The Worst-voting State

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - July 12, 2006

Statistically speaking, about four in 10 of you reading this will vote.

That means, of course, six in 10 will not.

Our society depends upon a representative democracy to give our collective lives structure while preserving freedoms envisioned by our founding fathers and illustrated in our constitution. Our very system of governance requires our participation or it devolves into a bastardized version of the ideal.

So why are so few determining the futures of so many?

If there were an obvious answer, I am certain it would be exploited by every campaign manager and political strategist. I am not certain there is an absolute answer to the question “Why don’t more people vote?”

But there may be some explanations.

Some say they are only one person with one vote. How will his or her one vote make a difference? Can one person make a difference? Consider Rosa Parks, Jonas Salk, Ronald Reagan - extreme examples? Not really. It is all about participating in life. Your vote contributes to the democratic process. Your candidate may or may not win, but at the end of the day you fulfilled your duty as an American.

Some think politicians are a bunch of corrupt, self-serving charlatans who don’t care about the people, only themselves. If we were to follow this logic, then all baseball players are steroid-using, greedy prima donnas who don’t care about the fans. Barry Bonds doesn’t define professional baseball, and a few loser politicians do not define our political process.

Others think there are no differences between candidates, especially Republicans and Democrats. Take a look at the 2002 Hawaii gubernatorial election. It is a fair assumption that Democrat nominee Mazie Hirono would have walked lockstep with the majority Democrat leadership. If that were the case, issues such as the 2003 Long Term Care Initiative (which was nothing more than a state-sponsored Ponzi scheme) would have passed. The intelligent and needed debate on reforming public education would not have occurred and, although the actual amount was paltry, the recent tax rebate would have been a dream.

If you are a voter and go to the polls, thank you. If you are eligible to vote but have not for years, please go back to the ballot box. We need you. Our system of government relies on our participation. Remember one thing: Politics touches every aspect of our lives. You should have a say in the decisions that affect you, and an informed vote is the most direct influence you can exert.

It is Election Year 2006 - get out and vote.

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