No Representation without Participation

Everything’s bigger in Texas, and this year’s primary turnout numbers are no exception as a record-breaking 3 million voters are expected to turn out. The actual percentage of registered voters expected to place a ballot, however, is all hat and no cattle. The large sum of voters anticipated accounts for just 28 percent of all Texas voters. Unfortunately, this poor turnout is only a microcosm of the nation as a whole. In a nation rooted in the notion of representative government, our citizenry hardly motivates itself to participate.

It seems as though today only a rare breed of American takes advantage of the privilege of voting. Indeed, many people can find the time to complain to pollsters during the dinner hour about their government, but don’t take the time to place an actual vote. Why do so many who didn’t vote become motivated enough to complain, via polls, about the leadership — the leadership that they had an opportunity to or not to elect, but refused — not by lack of opportunity, but rather by sheer, rational ignorance?

While President Bush’s approval rating hangs around 30 percent, some constituents are questioning his presidency, and rightfully so. However, when it came time to elect him, many didn’t find his leadership to be of sufficient concern to vote about it. Let’s face it: The majority of those who participated in the election got represented.

If Americans want engaging, responsive and representative leadership, the electorate should resort to doing something about their grievances (like voting) rather than just complaining about them. This country was founded so constituents could be represented by their leadership. Rather than criticizing elected officials, maybe Americans need to participate and actually vote … actually give themselves the proper privilege to grumble … actually make themselves represented.

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