This week, Paul Begala argued that the upcoming election would be decided by fewer than 1 million American voters. The reason being that when you take the Electoral College into consideration, the key deciding votes cast in that process will come from 6 states currently considered “swing” states.
His argument includes the suggestion that if you are in one of the 44 states currently not considered a swing state (including Alaska, California, Illinois, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Texas), you should not even bother participating. Rather, he says, “your vote essentially doesn’t matter.”
With which I take issue.
I do not argue the suggestion the Electoral College is an outdated and inappropriate method by which to measure modern rights and preferences with regard to political representation. I would not go so far as to suggest (as Begala does) that the Founding Fathers were “boneheaded” in establishing it. I figure they had pretty good reasons for setting it up as they did. We were smaller, more spread out, less technologically advanced. Information sharing was an arduous process, and it was all a rather grand experiment anyway. The expectation for change and adaptation is built into the foundation, which leads me to assume voting was never expected to be an exception to progress.
And so, even in this day and age when we’ve come to realize the old paradigm is an imperfect process for the systems and culture within which we now reside, I find it upsetting to think that anyone might suggest the solution is to consider one’s efforts entirely pointless.
Voting is, after all, a privilege. One for whom many people’s ancestors fought long and hard. It’s a way in which we put the philosophies and beliefs upon which our cultural and national experience is founded into action. We exercise a right.
That act of participation is incredibly important. It speaks to faith. It speaks to hope. It speaks to engagement and involvement and ideological underpinnings. It honors our process, our connection to that process, and our responsibility to one another.
So I don’t care where you live. Register. Participate. Cast your vote.
It’s important – all of it. And especially for those of you in the forgotten or already-dismissed states, the fact that you use your voice is just as important as what you choose to say with it.