One of the reasons people choose to be a part of American society is for the economic liberties and opportunities the United States offers its c citizens and residents. As the son of an immigrant I can tell you that my father, the original Alton Drew, did not move to the U.S. because he had a strong, unwavering need to vote. He had a strong, unwavering need to take care of his family and decided in 1979 to move to the U.S. mainland.
He did relatively well in the ten years that he lived on the mainland. By the time he passed away in 1989, he’d met the bare minimum of the American Dream; bought a house, bought a couple cars, worked hard, and took care of his family.
As he became more involved in his community he probably felt that to be truly incorporated in American society, he should exercise his right to vote. He gained that right in 1976 when he became a naturalized citizen and voted in his first election in November 1978. Heck, he even voted for Reagan, twice.
My dad wasn’t a complainer. He put his head down and grinded day in and day out. If he did have a complaint, however, he would go to the people who could resolve it. So when I hear some advocates for voting say that you can’t complain if you don’t vote, I can’t agree. By choosing to live in the United State you’ve entered a social contract that says you’ll abide by the laws of the U.S. and contribute to the State’s productivity in exchange for access to economic opportunity; and protection of your personal and economic liberty.
Once you’ve chosen to maximize your access to economic opportunity and protection of personal and economic liberty, you find that voting, however, is not the sole license needed for agitating for change where the aforementioned interests are negatively impacted. If you are an online information service provider, you may spend more time petitioning or responding to the Federal Trade Commission.
If you provide broadband access or are a broadband access consumer, you’ll spend more time talking to staff at the Federal Communications Commission versus a member of the House commerce committee.
These agencies and others like them regulate markets and adjudicate consumer issues on a day-to-day basis. Yes, their authority to promulgate and enforce rules are found in laws written by and passed by elected officials, but legislation, while setting the framework for governance, does not translate to day-to-day governance. It’s less important to me the process of voting versus determining which administrative agency I need to influence in order for me to profit in the markets.
Yes, go out and exercise your franchise, but if for some reason you don’t make it to the polls by 7:00 pm tonight, by no means believe that you are foreclosed from exercising your right as a citizen.