Letter to the Editor: Response to “Right to Vote: Our Civic Duty”

Dear Editor,

As I perused the October 12 issue of The Houstonian, the viewpoint on a person’s civic duty to vote caught my eye. As a major proponent for civic engagement, especially in young voters, I published a viewpoint on the very subject back in March.

After wading through the somewhat excessive sarcasm in the opening paragraphs, I began to understand where the author was coming from, but I disagree with the way in which he made many of his points.

He stated that “you do NOT have the duty to vote.” This statement is whole heartedly false.

Every American has the duty to vote, because if they don’t then the pillars of our democracy will crumble like sugar cubes. With that being said, every American ALSO has the duty to be informed. These duties are not mutually exclusive as the author seemed to imply.

Voting, regardless of what people may believe, is. not. optional. BUT, neither is being a member of an uninformed electorate; They must be presented together to be effective.

In defense of the author, I think we may agree, and this fact was just poorly articulated in his viewpoint.

Furthermore, there was one other detrimental mistake made by the author. Assuming that knowing sentimental yet inconsequential facts, like “what year our nation was founded” or “who won the civil war,” has any effect on a person’s ability to vote on present issues.

In my opinion, patronizing an electorate does not make them more inclined to exercise their power or have confidence in their ability to make decisions. You are speaking to adults, not fifth graders trying to pass a test designed to encourage memorization instead of real critical thinking skills.

The truth is, as sentimental as those facts are, the answers being 1776 and The Union (no, I didn’t google them), they do not have ANY actual bearing on the issues facing today’s elections.

Yes, basic knowledge of the interworking of our national and state governments is necessary to be an effective voter, but you don’t have to be an ass to tell people that.

So, in effect, I encourage EVERY eligible person to be informed on the issues faced in the upcoming election and use that information to CONFIDENTLY vote for the candidate you believe would be best for this great nation.

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