Message from Montie

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If you don't vote, why do you complain about politics?

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Message from Montie

Shamontiel is the author of two novels: "Change for a Twenty" and "Round Trip." Check her out at shamontiel.com.

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Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain looks at Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama as he answers a question during the Town Hall Presidential Debate at Belmont University's Curb Event Center, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP photo by Gerald Herbert / October 7, 2008, photo from ChicagoTribune.com)

Within the last year, I've had some very heated discussions about politics with people who don't vote, and one of them happened today with a Twitter user who solely tweets about politics. I asked him three times whether he voted in the last election after a tweet he made about health care reform and corrupt politicians, and he ignored my question. Finally after the third time asking, this Twitter user's response was the following:

 

"Whether you're an independent, Dem, Repub, it doesn't matter. You're [sic] vote doesn't matter. Voting is a trick."

 

Now the average person is going to assume that if someone is this pessimistic about the voting process, not just the electoral college, that they didn't vote. Last week, I talked with a guy who'd sent a Facebook add to me about why it is he "doesn't appreciate his ancestors." He basically told me that anything that doesn't effect him directly isn't something he can appreciate and that was why he never cared about voting or history. So not only did he throw all politicians under the bus but slaves too. I didn't think any conversation could top that one.

 

Earlier this year, an author I met told me that Pres. Obama was just a puppet for the Republicans and they secretly wanted him to be elected for their own personal agenda. Well, this assumption could've fooled me because Pres. Obama is doing a fine job of pissing off Republicans. If he's a puppet, he should win a Grammy on top of that Nobel Peace Prize for faking us out. But neither of these guys were well-versed on political issues, so I shrugged and left it alone. But this Twitter user actually does have intelligent points about health care reform, so I was even more disappointed to find out his pessimistic views on voting. I was hoping to not make this third conversation yet another one with someone who doesn't vote but has a world of opinions about what politicians need to do.

 

So when I didn't get a clear response on whether he votes, I pushed for a response from this Twitter user and got the following:

 

"You, like most Americans, put way too much faith in voting. That's what 'they' want you to think. 'Vote then be quiet.'" - and - "Voting for tweedle dee or tweedle dumb isn't going to change anything. What we need is a real movement of the people."

 

Another person who doesn't vote. Great. As Charles Barkley says, "I may be wrong, but I doubt it." From that response, I was groaning and thinking, "Not again. Another loudmouth person who wants to complain about the political system but won't even take the first step."

 

If you're going to complain about a corrupt government, which he did in the Tweet, "Politics in America amounts to politicians pretending they care, pretending you matter and continuing their corruption: Repub or Dem," at least be willing to vote for "Tweedle Dee" as opposed to "Tweedle Dumb." However, when asked if he thought President Barack Obama was corrupt, this same Twitter user tweeted, "OK sure not every politician is corrupt." And when speaking about a corrupt system stated, "One man isn't going to change that."

 

Call me na├»ve, but Pres. Obama is not just some random guy hanging out in the forest making s'mores. We're talking about the president of the United States who has a track record of community service, understands the legal system and was a senator, not someone fronting as a politician who is really a movie star (ex. Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenneger).

 

Not voting in the presidential election but complaining about corruption in politics nonstop and all of the problems with Democrats and Republicans makes about as much sense as the guy who complains about the grass being too long but then turns down a free lawnmower. If you want to help fix the issues, the first thing you have to do is get involved by voting.

 

If Senator McCain and author Sarah Palin were now in the White House, we would absolutely not be debating the same political issues, and health care reform would not even be on the table. The topics we're debating about in themselves show how voting matters. Sitting on Twitter airing out all the issues you have with America without actually going to the voting booth does not help anybody besides Twitter's visiting statistics.

 

When I challenged this Twitter user for not voting, I got the following response:

 

"My voting record is not open for public discussion. But even people who don't vote, are still citizens and capable for opinion."

 

Yes, people who don't vote are capable of venting their (empty) opinions, but what is that solving? I can understand someone being angry when a politician is not doing things that they promised to do when running for office. I can understand someone being angry when a politician that they didn't want to win is screwing America up even worse, in their opinion. But I will never understand it when someone is so negative about the idea of voting and suddenly becomes secretive about his own voting record but wants to air out all of his issues with politicians.

 

Use the lawnmower. Cut the grass. Otherwise sit down and be quiet.

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3 Comments

sjwalter1974 said:

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The guy on twitter has a sort of conspiracy theory attitude towards voting. As if it's a waist of time because the winner is already decided. Not at the least. Monti I agree with you, had McCain and Palin won the issues we're addressing today would not even be on the table. So to say voting doesn't change anything is a bunch of crap and those that don't vote don't have the right to complain. Sure you're an American citizen but that's like someone saying "hey what do you want for breakfast" and you say "doesn't matter" and then get mad because they brought you oatmeal. Rock the vote and yes one voice does make the difference.

Message from Montie said:

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Voting made tonight's Senatorial meeting 60 yay and 40 nay. Tell me voting doesn't change anything. If this wasn't the most significant step towards health care reform by VOTING, what is? Although I do believe the popular vote should override the electoral vote, the fact remains that numbers count. The senate would not even be up this late considering the topic of health care reform or a filibuster on health care reform if Obama was not in office.

Message from Montie said:

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After reading the conversation with President Barack H. Obama with the Republican Caucus, I was impressed with how level-headed he was no matter what question was thrown out. Better yet, he was big enough to admit when he was wrong and continuously insist that we (Democrats, Republicans and Independents) must stop all the finger-pointing about what the other side isn't doing instead of getting to the root of the issue. For that reason, as of this day, I'm going to stop saying "the Republicans don't want..." or "the Republicans want..." instead of narrowing it down to a particular issue. From this conversation, more often than is published via the media, the three parties can agree on issues, but we spend so much time attacking each other when we don't agree. This is one of the many reasons I continue to emphasize voting in all elections. It gives us the option to vote on people individually instead of just party voting. We should be paying attention to what each candidate says instead of the solo letter next to their names or skin complexion. So I'm going to stop my own finger-pointing and embrace the fact that so many Republicans find my political tweets (or any other type of tweets) interesting enough to follow on Twitter. Previously I wasn't thrilled about the idea, as I mentioned in "Tough love letter to African-Americans who don't vote, disrespect Dr. King's fight for our rights."

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