Voting Makes Sense
I am not an athlete. I wish I were, so I could run and defeat RA like many of our warriors. I wish I could do the Jingle Bell Run, the Walk to Defeat Arthritis, or the Indianapolis Bop to the Top while dedicating my participation to curing arthritis.
I do love to ride my bicycle, but I doubt the slow 5-7 miles on a summer evening in my neighborhood is anything more than a way to catch a cool breeze and a way to decompress. I doubt anyone would confuse my little ride on a mostly flat surface while blasting my radio at 1/3 volume playing the songs I loved from high school is much more than an annoyance to my neighbors. As in, "hey kid, turn that radio down … oh sorry, Rick I did not know it was you" kind of annoyance.
I could meander on with my litany of what I cannot or do not do. But instead of thinking about what I cannot do, let’s talk about what I can do. I can offer myself for clinical studies. I can raise my voice and email congresspeople asking for additional funding, and I can vote.
The V word
Ahh the V word. I will not tell you who to vote for; such a blog would never be published on this site (thankfully). But I can ask, implore, or beg you to do the civically responsible thing and simply vote.
I used to participate in political campaigns when I was younger. I would help local, state, and congressional candidates in their run for office. Sometimes my candidates were successful and sometimes not. Sometimes I had a blast doing campaigns, and sometimes the campaign was miserable.
Reason why people choose not to vote
But the most miserable thing was when people told me they were not voting. Why; I would always ask? Well, politics is too controversial, I do not trust politicians, or I do not have time were three common reasons people would give for not voting. As legitimate as those excuses may be, none of them do a thing to help our democracy.
Voting to have your voice heard
But if helping your democracy is not enough, consider your own self-interest. If you register and vote, your voice is amplified by ten times over those who never take the time. I used to work for a politician who insisted that when we got a request for service, we would first check the voting record of the person making the request. Those who voted in any election in the last 10 years had a much better chance of their issue being resolved in their favor. It did not matter who they voted for; it was that voting gave a person a much better chance of success.
Now you might reasonably say that is not fair. People who live in a service area ought to get equal service. You know I agree they should. I used to hate looking at voter records to help determine how I might respond to a citizen's concern. But I also know you cannot satisfy everyone, and there must be some way to sort out competing requests. There are a lot more worse ways to sort out what a politician will support. In fact, who votes may be one of the better ways to determine what a politician will support. So, if self -interest is appealing to you, consider voting as protecting your self-interest.
Continuing to vote in the future
I am not an athlete. I will not raise thousands of dollars for arthritis efforts, but I do have power and this year and the next I will vote, just as I have done for the last 44 years and I will continue to do. I hope when your elections happen, you will join me. Real collective actions start first at the ballot box. If you want to be heard, please vote. It is much more effective than yelling. Take it from a guy who has been yelled at a lot in his life. Voting works so much better.
Does your RA impact you financially?