As I am always perplexed by this behavior, even more so when I am speaking to women or to members of a minority class, and/or to young people, I asked them “Why?” While there were variations on the theme, mostly the theme was this: “It doesn’t matter anyway. They’re all the same.”
‘”They’re” not all the same’, I tried to tell them. The non-voters remained unconvinced.
As I gave up beating my head against a brick wall long ago and because there wasn’t a soap box in sight for me to stand upon, I mostly just shook my head and walked away. I felt, as I often do during election season, defeated. And sad.
A few of the more honest respondents told me that they didn’t feel comfortable voting, as they had not done any research regarding the candidates. Most referenced a lack of time as being the reason for their ignorance.
Really? They couldn’t find five minutes to search the internet to find out where a candidate stood on this, that, or the other thing? What were they doing with that five minutes? I’ll bet they spent it on the internet anyway — crushing candies, looking for cute shoes, tweeting, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Oddly enough, when I asked these folks how difficult it would have been to find the five minutes necessary for researching a candidate — I mean, let’s face it, in our modern world most people have access to the internet when they are on the toilet! — they admitted to not really knowing what it was, exactly, that was important to them, in their roles as voters. Really?
Have we become that — and I really cannot think of a better word — stupid? There is not one single issue that is important to the average person? “What”, I asked (because I am a persistent woman), “of gun control? Abortion? Fair wages?” Crickets. I got crickets. And blank stares. Hey, at least I got something, right?
Voter apathy is difficult enough to combat, but this? I don’t even know what to call it. I suppose just plain old “apathy” says it all, doesn’t it?
One of my co-workers referenced his need for the latest video game console and intimated that if a candidate was to, say, give one away with every promised vote, he might just head to the polls and cast a ballot for this enterprising future Assemblyman or Council member. I had to patiently explain to my misguided co-worker that such a thing — paying for votes — is illegal under our current system.
The larger question, of course, is how, exactly, do you make inroads with a populace who cares more about the latest video game than it does about electing their political representatives?
And then I had a brilliant idea. Don’t promise to give them MORE technology, threaten to take away the technology they currently have. That might do the trick. Yeah. I’ll bet that would get folks out to the polls.