Responsibility shouldn’t be forced
It’s that time again. It is time for us, as Americans, to give our input to the person who should be in charge of government. With this election, I mean all government – local, county, state and national.
As always, with freedoms and rights, such as the right to determine which direction our country will head for the next four years, comes responsibility. That responsibility is to actually get to the polls and vote this coming Tuesday.
For people who may be too busy, that isn’t a problem. The Washington County Auditor’s office allows people to vote absentee. You can go and pick up a ballot in the office or have one sent to you. I voted about a month ago and it took me all of five minutes.
Even though the right to choose our officials is a fundamental freedom that we should jealously guard, I think most of us are getting tired of seeing all the ads for the two main presidential candidates all over television. I think I join with most people’s opinions that the election commercials have me longing for the more traditional commercials peddling high fat and sugary foods, the latest electronic gadgets and other doohickeys that I can’t afford.
Of course the hard-sell campaign ads are taking a new face. Last night, as I was leaving for my evening stroll, a neighbor stopped me and showed me a letter she had received from a Virginia-based conservative group called Americans For Limited Government. On this letter was my name, address and a somewhat inaccurate record of my voting history for the last three presidential elections. The letter also included my neighbor’s name and history, as well as five other people on our block.
Talk about a hard sell. A little research shows that the group has sent out the mailers because studies have shown people are more likely to head to the polls if they believe their friends, family and neighbors will know if they voted. While I grant you all of this is public information, I’m starting to think that this may be carrying things a little too far.
First, my history is incorrect. It shows that I didn’t vote in the 2004 presidential race. Actually, I did. I just happened to be living in Illinois at the time. It also shows my vote in this election as pending. As I said, I have already voted absentee.
Second, there is a certain irony to a group called Americans for Limited Government using governmental public records to send out numerous mass mailings showing people their neighbors’ voting history. I have enough problems with how intrusive government is becoming without having to worry about a private group.
Third, the idea of shaming people into doing something that is their right and freedom to do or not to do seems to be stepping over a line. While we would all like to see more people vote – and many would like to see more vote in the same way they do – it isn’t something that should be forced.
In that spirit, I am encouraging everyone to get out to the polls and make your voice heard. No, I won’t print the name of anyone who doesn’t vote. I just feel that some of the best people in the country – Washingtonians – should have a strong say in the future of our nation.