Democratic Underground  

We Are Being Held Hostage by Apathy
November 19, 2003
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 article 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 it.

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 as well.

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 eating?

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 democracy.

Printer-friendly version
Tell a friend about this article Tell a friend about this article
Discuss this article
Democratic Underground Homepage