These days in Washington D.C. it seems like the only thing higher than our national deficit is the moral deficit of our politicians.
All the information one hears about government candidates seems to come from the unabashedly biased negative ads they throw at each other or from news reports uncovering heinous scandals.
It’s no wonder moderate voters are fed up with the feds — so much so that last week’s article, “Apathy is change this coming November” posited that voters should protest the system by not showing up at the polls.
But while such disillusionment is completely understandable and pretty common, the last thing the nation needs is more voter apathy.
Not only is apathy one of the main reasons Washington is broken in the first place, it also accomplishes nothing toward creating a better political environment.
The problems spoken of in this article are fairly typical complaints. What they really boil down to is a simple discrepancy: Most Americans are moderate, generally moral people but the politicians running for office these days seem to be a dysfunctional, bickering mob of radicals.
Candidates are supposed to represent the will of the people, so how did so many extremists on both sides of the aisle get to control Washington?
A major reason is voter apathy. Fewer and fewer Americans take the time to vote, and most of this indifferent segment of the population is moderate.
Moderates often don’t feel particularly strong about any major issue, so when they weigh the idea of voting, they often don’t feel motivated.
But there is a different segment of the population that consistently turns out at polls — extremists.
Radical liberals and conservatives, who believe that they are unquestionably right, will always show up to the polls and cast their ballots for candidates who share their narrow-minded perceptions of the world. In fact, they are often very active at local debates and political events.
Normally this vocal minority is drowned out by the rationality of mainstream voters, but when more and more moderates become disenfranchised with government, suddenly the extremists are the only ones voting.
Voices of Americans are being drowned out by a vocal, uninformed minority simply because moderate citizens choose to keep quiet.
But the solution to this problem is simple. If you want to stop placing radicals in office, voting is the only productive way forward.
But what if no candidate in the race is good enough? Politicians in the general election are selected in the primaries.
Primary elections feature more candidates and really allow voters to see their full range of options. The only requirement is to register with a party, which requires no commitment of any sort. Even if you don’t agree with a party 100 percent of the time, registering so you can vote in the primaries helps put more moderate candidates on the ticket, so that voters have better choices coming into the general elections.
Washington may be dysfunctional and corrupt, but apathy is not the answer to reforming a broken political system.
Apathy is about as productive as taking a suicide pill rather than facing the nation’s problems head on.
In fact, if more people turned out to vote, especially in the primaries, it would help prevent extremist candidates from being elected in the first place and moderate the entire political spectrum.
So go out and vote in November, not because it’s your civic duty, but because voting represents your best defense against a radical government. The power to fix Washington is in your hands, so why tie them?

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