It’s uncertain if too much emphasis is placed on the apparent winners and losers in a political election as
a by-product of our competitive capitalistic society, but we would like to extend our thanks to all the BYU students and faculty who took the time to cast their vote and keep the democratic process alive.
This year, the media predictably focused their attention on the political winners and losers. We watched the Democrats – the “winning side” – stand in a shower of red, white and blue confetti, and promise “the days of the do-nothing Congress are over.” Meanwhile, the Republicans – the “losing side” – consoled each other, humbly congratulated their opponents and reintroduced long-forgotten phrases like “bipartisan cooperation” into their lexicon. Through it all, little or no attention was paid to the voters, the people who make the whole process possible. If this were the only annoyance, the election process would be fairly tolerable.
There are many disenfranchising aspects to the election process. It’s a time when candidates spend massive amounts of money to tell the public why they deserve to be in office; billboards extolling a candidate’s clout or boldness clutter the freeways; and robo-messages plague phone lines promoting or condemning candidates.
On top of that, there are 30-second smear campaign commercials on TV and viral films posted on Web sites like YouTube.com intended to besmirch the competition’s reputation. In reality, these mud-slinging fiascoes tell us far more about the candidate who places the ad than it does about the candidate it is intended to tarnish. It’s a remarkable miracle voter cynicism isn’t as high as it could be.
Despite all its shortcomings, the election process works; it works only because voters choose to make it work. Those of you who cast ballots understand it is not sufficient to complain about an issue to induce change; action must be taken. You understand the opportunity to vote is not an irrevocable right, but an extraordinary privilege – a boon from the Founding Fathers to all the future generations of the United States.
Some casually shirked a citizen’s responsibility to democracy, saying they have homework, work, social obligations or a myriad of other issues to deal with. Worse yet, they may believe their vote won’t matter because their candidate won’t win; they miss the point entirely. The only possible way you can lose is if you don’t vote.
It doesn’t matter if you voted Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green Party or whatever. If you voted, you are a winner because you are keeping the democratic process alive, and for this we thank you.