Tara: On the subject of voting—I am 20 years old, and so are most of my friends. However, an alarming number of them refuse to vote, because they don’t believe in the politics of any of the candidates and because they believe that their vote would have no importance in the greater picture anyway, even if they did care enough to vote one way or another. I keep telling them that it’s part of their civic duty to make an informed decision, but I can’t convince them to vote, no matter how hard I try. They remain obstinate that politics are simply not their realm. What would you suggest I tell them?
John Green: There are a lot of problem with their reasoning here, so let me break down each argument against voting:
1. I shouldn’t vote because I am not that well informed. First off, many people who are going to vote are not well informed, either, and if you don’t vote, you’ll just give them a stronger voice. In fact, unless you are the least informed voter in the United States (which, trust me, you aren’t), this argument doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny, because you’re only giving some less informed voter than you excessive power. And also, it is not that hard to become a well informed voter.
2. Politics isn’t my realm. Well, yes it is. It’s your realm because you are a human being living under the laws and regulations of a government. You can’t be apolitical. Now, to be clear, you don’t have to be one of these people who thinks that only one party is right about everything and spend all your time watching that party’s news channel or anything.
3. My vote isn’t important. This is technically true only insofar as your vote is very unlikely to decide an election. But if everyone responded to that reality by not voting, there would be no voters. More importantly, your individual vote may not decide an election, but the fact that you are voting is of interest to politicians. You want to know why politicians spend so much more time talking about social security than talking about the rising cost of higher education? Old people vote more than young people.
Read more of John Green’s responses to Figment writers’ political questions: John Green Answers Your Questions | The Daily Fig