Are Being Held Hostage by Apathy
By Mary MacElveen
It is not often that I find myself agreeing with someone
whose views are diametrically in opposition to mine politically.
But, there are times where I find a commonality with those
that at times I vehemently oppose. I also must give credit
to that person, when his message rings loud and clear and
where I find truth.
At this time, I have to find myself in total agreement with
Bill O'Reilly when he was quoted saying this in a Newsday
just last week, "The prize would be the White House, but the
country's not interested in an independent candidacy. Maybe
in 10 years they will be, but right now, you have 50 percent
of Americans who don't know anything - they're totally disengaged
from the process, the 'Mall People.' They don't know anything,
don't watch the news or listen to radio or read the newspapers.
The other 50 percent - and there was a recent poll on this
- are a third crazy left and third crazy right and third in
the middle. So the pie you're going for is a very narrow pie."
I have come to the opinion that we are the most disengaged
democracy on this planet. That is because almost half of our
country just does not care. Some will even tell you with pride
that they do not vote and to me that is inexcusable. Many
will say that is their right if we are truly living in a free
society. They will cite that it is a person's right of free
expression which is protected by the first amendment to our
Constitution. But, even if one does follow that argument,
those that do exercise this right are thwarting the very democracy
that this sacred document was written to protect.
Many of America's first patriots spilled blood in order
to give us this democracy and while they gave us this right
of free expression, they also expected us to participate in
After the attacks that befell us on September 11th, 2001,
I often wonder just how many of these non-voting American
citizens ran off to their nearest store to purchase an American
flag to display to show such patriotism. Well, patriotism
means more than just purchasing a flag; it means an active
participation in the process. It means using the tools provided
to us by our founding fathers. The most powerful tool that
our founding fathers gave us as free citizens was voting.
Some of these non-voting people may be displaying signs
on their front lawns stating, "Support Our Troops" as we fight
this war in Iraq. But, one thing they fail at doing is voting,
and that is one of the many freedoms our soldiers have given
up their lives protecting.
Now the latest count of our dead soldiers in Iraq stands
at four hundred. Isn't it their duty as a non-voting American
citizen to finally step up to the plate and register to vote?
Don't their deaths mean anything to them? These soldiers went
half way around the world, yet these citizens who choose not
to vote can't even make it down to their local post offices
and motor vehicles offices to pick up a registration form?
As we celebrated Veterans Day last week, did any of them
attend parades to honor those veterans of past wars? If they
did, they had no business being there.
Some of these non-voting citizens may complain about the
illegal aliens coming to our country in hopes of someday being
able to vote. They may come from lands where voting is not
allowed or restricted by their governments, yet these non-voting
Americans choose not to exercise their own rights.
I often wonder how many of these non- participants in our
democracy feel we are headed in the wrong direction. But if
you do not vote, you really have no right to complain about
the way you are governed. After all, who really wants to listen
to an apathetic whiner?
In my opinion by their non-participation, they are holding
the rest of us hostage. How many feel they might not have
enough to retire on in the future due the horrific economic
plans put forth by George W. Bush? They are most certainly
holding the rest of us hostage and they are doing it to themselves
How many of them have children too sick to play outside
due to the devastating environmental policies put forth by
this administration? Are they through their own apathetic
actions holding their children and our children hostage?
It has been reported that there is a rise in hunger in this
country under this administration. Are these non-participants
in the voting process holding these families hostage from
Many of America's children are attending schools that are
falling apart literally and where many of these non-voting
citizens have children attending them. Aren't they holding
their own children hostage in these buildings?
Many within this country still do not have affordable health
care or are uninsured and I often wonder just how many of
them do not vote. Aren't they holding themselves and the rest
of these uninsured people hostage?
As Congress still discusses an affordable prescription drug
plan for our seniors, a federal judge named Judge Clair Eagan
shut down a company last week who was obtaining affordable
drugs coming in from Canada. Little does the non-participating
American public know that George W. Bush appointed her. So,
aren't they holding our American seniors hostage by not voting?
As rents, mortgages, local tax bases, permit fees go up
due to the massive spending at the federal level, aren't non-voting
citizens holding all of us hostage?
It is not terrorism that is holding us hostage, but our
own damn apathy when it comes to participating in our own