If you have the time to go out to a club on a weekend, you have the time to vote.
If you have the time to parse the intricacies of your NFL fantasy football league, you have the time to vote.
If you have the time to drink a freshly poured craft beer, you have the time to vote.
If you have the time to play six hours of games on your Xbox One, you have the time to vote AND volunteer.
Voting is both a right and a privilege.
It is a right because those who came before you fought and died to continually expand the franchise. African Americans in the South couldn’t vote before 1964. Women couldn’t vote before 1920. Universal suffrage was gained by long, incremental struggle. It was not handed on a silver platter, fully formed out of the Founders’ heads like Athena from Zeus.
Voting is a privilege because it is a privilege to be a citizen of the world’s last remaining superpower. It is a privilege because as a mere citizen you have the power to decide your fate. If you eschew voting, to paraphrase Plato, you hand that power over to your inferiors, or at the very least to people who don’t see the world in the same way you do.
Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few weeks—and if you have, you may want to skip this and stay there where it’s safe—you may have noticed the media has a shiny new toy.
The Ebola outbreak which has reached our shores—infecting less than ten people—has our failed media experiment in a veritable apoplexy. CNN, looking for something to replace it’s 24/7 coverage of MH370 and recapture those golden days of summer, has joined MSNBC and Fox in providing a constant stream of information on the breakout. And by “constant stream of information”, I mean dialing the panic button up to 12 and reporting as if half of the country has been infected with the virus. Rather than a contained outbreak, this Ebola infestation is a new Black Death, scything through the population with grim glee.
Now, I know that it’s hard filling in the time between commercials. A news producer’s job is never easy. But there seems to be something disreputable about media organizations latching on to a very minor outbreak and building it up to be an existential threat to humanity. And, of course, the coverage was nowhere near as manic when the Ebola pandemic was restricted to west African nations. Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea are facing real catastrophic consequences to their economies and social fabric; but, they’re far away, and in Africa, so not worthy of foaming at the mouth coverage.