Earlier this month, a UK government minister called for the institution of compulsory voting. According to Mirror.UK, it is a ploy to increase voter turnout, but it also seems to be politically motivated. The politicians pushing this policy (nearly all of who belong to the labor party) are highly concerned with low Brexit vote turnout. They speculate that if only voting numbers were up, they would have come out of the decision as victors. But with the seemingly endless Brexit debacle, a conversation about voting has been opening up in the UK. Should a civics exam be mandatory to vote? Is it okay to let felons vote? And famously, should voting be compulsory?
Josh Hughes | United States
In the United States, every citizen that is age 18 or above and is registered to vote enjoys the right to do so. While, on average, the people of the US do not take advantage of this right as much as those of other countries, there are still hundreds of millions of people that contribute to their “civic duty” every other November. But should it be that simple? Should anyone and everyone that shows up to the ballot be able to make a decision that could potentially drastically affect the scope of the country and have a direct effect on your life, regardless of their understanding of what they are voting for?
About a month ago, the United States government, under President Donald J. Trump, sent in drone strikes to Yemen. Rather than hitting the alleged terrorists, the Lockheed-Martin bomb came in contact with a school bus, taking young children to summer camp. The Yemeni youth did not make it to summer camp, and will not make it anywhere else again. This has occurred time and time again, under Presidents Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, and many more.
In our alleged post-racial society, 3 of 5 African American men who drop out of high school will end up in a prison. As redlining cripples American neighbors of abject poverty, the United States government, under Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, mandates that these children go to the poorest schools, ensuring they remain on these streets and see no social mobility. This has occurred time and time again. under the regimes of Presidents Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, and many more.
Across the country, innocent figures like Ross Ulbricht spend their lives in prison, not for harming anyone, but for refusing to abide by the government’s coercive rules. With the highest incarceration rates in the world, hundreds of thousands sit in prison for peaceful consumption of a plant. Many others sit indefinitely for infinitely more nonviolent crimes. Some even have no crime except resisting arrest. This is unacceptable action at the hands of the United States government.
As citizens of the United States government, we reserve the right not to accept these acts of brutality. We oppose them in thought, but our votes go unheard. Such is the nature of a democracy. Those who can deceive and appeal rise to the top, while those with honesty and respect for our fellow Americans fall to the bottom. Fortunately, though, there is another way.
In order to function in a way that allows it to bring violence upon us all, the United States government needs three things: money, bodies, and minds. It collects the first via taxation, which currently, is too difficult for most people to evade. It gathers the second through the draft, which many may courageously avoid, but this is not as frequent an issue. What does this leave? The minds.
Politicians get stronger with your votes. By choosing a candidate, you agree, by law, to support the winner of the election. Voting for high morals, then, is not useful, when you are forced to accept immorality upon its favorable outcome. So take a stand. Without politicians, there is no violence. The state cannot act without figureheads. By not running for office, and not supporting anyone running for office, you are the change you may hope to see in the world.
This is no simple task and requires a lot of diligent work. But begin with yourself, and expand outward. Convince your family against pursuing a political career. Then move on to your street and neighborhood and town. If one thousand of you can convince three people per year, and each of those three people can do the same, we will have a crowd of 59,000,000 proud citizens, all refusing to stand for violence, in just one decade.
Perhaps, then, we may see a number of towns with nobody desiring to run for the board of education, or planning and zoning, or even mayor. Thus, the decentralization process begins. From the small town, we expand to the city, and with success, we wonder why the process does not occur with the state. With success at the state level, we may, once and for all, bring an end to the destructive actions of the United States government. Without popular support, it is nothing.
The action begins with you. Become an origin point for and a beacon of peace. Spread the message of free will and autonomy. Be the change you want to see in the world. Help end the destructive actions of the state and usher in a new paradigm of love, trust, respect, and unity. Your task is simple: do not run for office, and do not vote. Pledge yourself to the highest possible moral standards. Do not enable those whose every action is to bring harm, in some way, whether through seizure of earned money, seizure of person from property, or even lawful but very much immoral killings.
With just one signatory, the process begins. With 1,000 signatories, it will move as many times as quickly. Without your action, the United States government may act violently across the globe for another day. With it, you sow the seeds of peace. Set yourself in order, and then your family. We as American citizens have a duty to make the world a better place. We have a duty to usher in a wave of change, one beautiful individual at a time. The peace and love of the world are in your hands. Embrace it, and let it grow.
The petition to starve the state of minds by not running for office or voting is available here.
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