Today I am on my soap box. In a country where we have freedom that millions of other folks only dream about, do we take suffrage for granted? I hate to think so. Many brave men and women fought hard so I could vote yesterday, but I was one of only 17% of the folks in my county who did vote. As a teacher, I voted because I wanted some say in who was elected to our local school board. Nationally, about 36% of our population voted at this time last year, lower than the vote during 1942 (which was also awful). Should we consider compulsory voting? Some argue that it violates our right NOT to speak. Others argue that mandatory voting is stupid voting because a majority of folks don’t even know or care about the elections. I think both arguments are valid.
An alternative to compulsory voting would be better education in social studies, political science, and history. What if we made those subjects come alive for students? What if we show students the effects of voting instead of simply telling them to memorize facts? What if we teach students how to understand ballots and the procedures at a polling site? And I saved the best for last: What if we treat all students like they are valuable members of society? I bet that many folks feel uncertain about walking through those doors and being greeted by white senior citizens like me. Hey, maybe that’s why it’s so easy for me to vote! Come on, man! VOTE!