Power and Power

My laptop still isn’t fixed — it’s not drawing power when plugged in. But I’ve been thinking about another kind of power.

Voters under 30 are failing to show up at the polls in the US in staggering numbers. Only 19.9% of 18-29 year olds voted in 2014 and they made up only 13% of the electorate. In California, only 8.2% of eligible 18-24 year olds turned up.

I know many young people are disillusioned by what they see as a broken system. One friend of a friend said on Facebook, in response to a post about the current election “I don’t participate in that zoo.”

But for participatory democracy to survive, we must participate. You don’t escape the zoo by not voting. You just get put in a different cage. You become the most docile and manageable of creatures; you can safely be ignored. 

As long as young people continue to fail to become young voters, politicians know they can screw this demographic left right and center. If you don’t vote, what are you going to do — complain on social media? That doesn’t put butts in state legislatures, where avaricious legislators can gerrymander their districts to disenfranchise poor and minority voters. It doesn’t put fair judges on the bench or kick bad ones off. It doesn’t put decent mayors and city councils and sherriffs in place, who will build and sustain strong communities. It doesn’t prevent idiots who can’t tell an apostrophe from an apostle from serving on school boards. 

Information for all US voters can be found here. Californians can register online here. Look up your local elections board if you want to go the extra mile and work the polls; the information for San Francisco is here. Rock the Vote offers tools to register and to help others register. 

Choosing not to act is still a choice — and by not voting, you cast the strongest possible ballot for the status quo. So vote. The right to vote is your birthright and your legacy. Embrace it.

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