An Act Of Political Cowardice -- Not Voting

Come on America, suck it up! When did we become a nation of whiners and complainers?

The social media landscape, and the locker room at the gym, are littered with comments from people upset or against almost everything you can imagine, from genetically modified food to the size of airline seats, or the size of the person's rear end on the leg press machine next to you. Pokemon GO is dangerous, cell phones can cause brain damage, or only the brain damaged use cell phones while driving. The towels are too small, or too old and the pumps on the body lotion dispensers are too tough to push down. Oh, and the sign that says "Absolutely NO Cell Phone Use in the Locker Room" is blocked by a guy, you guessed it, on his cell phone! Lordy, you can't make this stuff up.

Speaking of things you can't make up, politics. Congress goes on vacation from what exactly? For seven weeks? What is this, Sweden? No, that was the Bernie Sanders campaign, a campaign that has left a lot of supposedly disenfranchised supporters behind, left to bemoan the fact that their guy didn't win. So what are they going to do? Many of them claim they are not going to vote. In fact I've seen and heard a number of folks say that they are so upset with "the process" that they are going to "sit this one out". They think the candidates stink.

Shame on you.

Welcome to America. It's called a participatory democracy, which means in order for it to work, people, you, me, your brother, Mom, Dad, Patty and all, need to participate. It should be a law and there should be penalties. You don't vote? You don't get to vote in the next election either. You don't vote? You don't get your Social Security check next month. You don't vote? No ice cream after baseball practice. Anything but not voting. I can see your eyes rolling back in your heads and I can hear teeth gnashing. "This is America! You can't tell me what to do!" Sure I can, we do that all the time, for much sillier stuff than voting. But this is not a Hillary Clinton "Pokemon GO to the polls" moment. This is serious.

As a nation we have one of the worst voting records per thousand than any Western democracy. There you go, something we can lead the world in. Wow, America IS great again. But it's not your fault you say the candidates are terrible; I can't possibly vote for any of them. Trump is dumber than a rock, Clinton is more crooked than Lombard Street, and I don't know from Libertarian and Green Party candidates. So who's fault is that exactly? Yours, mine, all of ours. Did you make calls for your candidate in the primaries? Did you go door to door? Did you vote? If you didn't you have a lot of company. If you did and your favorite still didn't make it, so be it. Either way neither scenario is an excuse for not voting in the upcoming election. You can't complain if you don't play and taking your ball and going home is not an option, or shouldn't be. The self imposed boycott of the Republican Convention by some of the better known names in the Republican Party isn't "making a statement", it's a chicken droppings move that lacks the courage of their so-called convictions. If they don't like their candidate, or the platform, stand up and say something. Hiding in Florida, or at the ranch proves nothing.

But gosh, how do I vote for someone I don't like or respect? Simple. First, understand how important it is to vote, to participate. Second, try voting FOR something instead of AGAINST someone. Try this. Go into a room, take a yellow legal pad and a pencil. Shut the door, turn off your phone, turn off the TV. Write down what you care about, the issues that mean something to you. Equal pay for equal work? A woman's right to choose? Immigration policy? Law and order? Same sex marriage? Border security? Tax relief? National Debt? Trade policy? Integrity? Experience? There are lots of things that truly mean something to people. Some of them likely will take some research and thought -- I know life is tough sometimes, it actually helps if you know what you're talking about.

A word of advice here: don't trust someone else, the media, to do this for you. We have more information at our finger tips than ever before and we have likely never been less aware. Simply put, the media does a lousy job telling us what we need to know, in many cases because they don't know or understand the issues at hand themselves or they've chosen to abdicate their responsibility, it's easier. They didn't do their research and thinking either. Vomiting every tweet, snap chat, and Facebook posting into print, or onto the internet, or via cable isn't 'informing' the public it's servicing the tweeter. One of the current candidates has figured this out brilliantly.

Once you've compiled your list, take it and the information you've discovered and compare it to what the various candidates have to say on the issues you care about. If you are honest with yourself you'll find that one of the candidates, from one of the various parties, will score better than they others. Remember you're voting for something, not against someone. I've heard that this election is one of the most important in American history, it's outcome could change the course of the country. I've heard that almost every election and you know what? It's true. Every election is the most important one, and the only way you get to whine and complain is to vote in it. And remember, not voting is exactly what some folks are counting on you doing. What say we fool them this time?

If it helps to hold your nose while you do it, fine. I know that helps a lot here at the gym. Goodness, look at the size of that guy's butt!