When you think about your rent increasing and how ridiculous paying $1000+ for 400 square feet of space is when others pay less for an entire mortgage, I bet all you want to do is punch your greedy landlord in the face. In many cases, the parents of other young professionals are frustrated too because like in Failure to Launch, they want their “naked room,” but their kids just won’t move out. With a parent’s age and wisdom, they recognize that landlords are just pawns; it’s the developers that are cheating us.
In reality, we should blame the gameplayers.
Huh? Who are the gameplayers, what’s the game?
If the politicians, developers, banks, and large scale landlords are taking us out for a ride while they cash in on their winnings, maybe it’s them?
We all live, work, succeed, and fail within a game (or system) that we created. “We” meaning all of us collective citizens.
We reside within a political framework that dictates the rules for everything else. And that framework is renovated semi-frequently…
While we may consider ourselves engineers, or sports analysts, or fashion designers, we are also all contractors; and we have the skills, power, and freedom to conduct renovations on a massive scale. Elections are our way to change the system we live within, and they absolutely have the power to do so.
But more and more of us not only cover our eyes while voting for the “lesser of two evils,” most of us don’t even start the voting process.
The 2016 Presidential election in the United States turned out about 60% of eligible voters—one of the highest seen in half a century. But the average actually hovers closer to half of eligible voters, making our voter turnout rate the lowest among every advanced democracy on the planet.
The candidates are usually someone’s cronies; we never see the change so resolutely guaranteed. The rhetoric is toxic. Who would want to get involved?
Multiple factors contribute to increasing disengagement, and certainly some blame resides on how extreme our politicians have become. They’re either supporting bombing their way to a military win regardless of the collateral damage, or are advocating for unmitigated healthcare coverage for all. There’s no nuance. The further to the left or right the candidate runs, the more of their base gets fired up –– rewarding only the extremists on election day.
Another reason people don’t vote is that it costs too much for seemingly no reward. At the very least, valuable time is spent: time to learn about the candidates and the interminable number of issues on the ballot, and to wait in line at the polls. Then there’s no change in circumstances.
So why spend so much for nothing? Why does it matter to me if anyone else (or everyone else) chooses not to vote?
For one, and as mentioned earlier, politicians have to become more extreme to get people to the polls. And money becomes indelibly linked to power and efficacy in our political system, as we all see in Frank Underwood’s rise to the White House.
So while being extreme or having access to gobs of money is neither illegal nor morally wrong, it does become a problem when thinking about defending the interests of those of who lack wealth, power, or an extreme ideology.
If you are starting a small business but can’t get it off the ground due to regulatory constraints, or believe your kids aren’t receiving the education they deserve, or want more affordable housing (for yourself or your kids), then you’re likely to vote for some policies and candidates over others. But because neither you nor your friends are voting, those candidates don’t get elected, with real consequences to your community.
Not picking up that hammer to renovate our system hurts everyone.
But none of this is revelatory.
In the next several posts, I proffer a provocative policy change in response to these issues: mandatory voting. I will explain the importance of increasing our voting rate, highlight its benefits, describe the barriers we’d encounter—including constitutionality and political obstacles—and touch on the potential costs and enforcement mechanisms needed to execute it.
I will also answer questions such as: Will mandatory voting change the type of candidates running for office? (absolutely); How much is this gonna cost me, the taxpayer? (less than you think); and what do I have to give up for this? (your time).
Next article: The High Cost of Low Voter Turnout