The Eighth Page

Just Say No To Voting

Just say “NO” to voting. That’s all you have to do. Don’t think that just because your friends are doing it, you have to. Don’t be pressured into doing something that goes against your beliefs or comfort zone. If you just say “NO,” walk away, and keep your head high, nobody will think any less of you. Every election year more and more adults wake up early before work, drive all the way to where the voting takes place, and cast their ballot just because “everybody is doing it.” They are conflicted by the commercials of candidates that insist, “every vote counts; this election you could make a difference”. They feel like if they don’t vote they are “letting down the soldiers that fight to keep America free.” An excellent example of the peer pressure that Americans experience throughout the election process took place in my house just last week. My family was at the dinner table. I was politely asked by my sister to pass the butter, when all of the sudden the phone rang. My mother walked into the kitchen and answered the phone, only to be lectured for five minutes on why to vote Kerry. She looked like she was going to faint with all of the pressure building on the phone: “John Kerry is a committed candidate who needs your vote. Just vote Kerry; just do it. Just vote Kerry. All you have to do is take the lever and pull for Kerry. Don’t be a boysenberry, vote Kerry. If you name is Larry, just vote Kerry. Legs are hairy? Vote Kerry! It won’t hurt…just do it. All of your friends are doing it. Just vote Kerry…just vote Kerry…” My mother is a strong woman, and from the dinner table we soon heard her yell, “NO.” We then heard a gun shot, and saw the broken phone thrown across the room. That’s all she had to do: scream those two simple letters that can keep the presidential elections from ruining your life. Last weekend I was walking with my father downtown, when a man approached us wearing tons of buttons that said, “Vote Bush.” He was like a dealer coming up to unsuspecting citizens, hassling them and trying to make them go out of their comfort zone. He kept saying, “vote Bush sir, just vote Bush,” like a broken record. My father and I, both against voting, just kept our heads high and walked away peacefully. We don’t need to destroy our bodies just because everybody else is voting. Have you ever seen a commercial saying something like, “help the world disarm its nuclear weapons and nuclear stockpiles…vote Kerry” or, “go with a leader who will end the terrorists once and for all…vote Bush!”? Suddenly, the weight of the world’s destiny lies on the shoulders of the voter, creating a stressful environment and unhealthy voting conditions. When you see a commercial like this just flip the channel and say “NO” to the destructive pressures of voting. Politicians spend millions of dollars trying to make adults feel like they need to vote. Peers make you feel like you need to vote…but you don’t, and it’s OK if you don’t. If you feel uncomfortable pulling a curtain across your back, and standing in a cubicle to cast your vote, then you shouldn’t be forced to do so. Just sleep in late on voting day, tell your friends you have better things to do with your time, and just know that you have the right to say “NO.”