Monday, February 1, 2016

An Open Letter to the Voters of the United States of America

Dear Voters of America,

With the Iowa caucuses upon us, and as we rapidly approach the primaries and exponentially increase rhetoric, I simply ask that you become independently educated about all of the candidates, their positions, and their character before pledging your votes.

"A properly functioning democracy depends on a well-informed citizenry". The quote, and its derivations (well-informed electorate, educated citizenry, etc.), are attributed to Thomas Jefferson though the actual source, as written, is unknown. Regardless of its originator or composition, the essence holds true.

Voting in a democracy is not enough. It's citizens must be well-informed on its issues and actively engage to ensure its success and continuation. We have become a nation of mindless beasts, beaten down by the bureaucracy and partisanship of a government more preoccupied with retaining power than representing and protecting its citizens.

It is too easy to sit within the comfortable cocoon of like-minded individuals and vote along the same lines as your peers so as not to cause a disturbance. However, this is a near-sighted decision, opting for short-term harmony, while sowing the seeds for greater discord in the future. There is resonance in agreement. This may seem like positive, but this is the current (albeit, bi-modal) state we're in. With everyone marching along the same two frequencies, we are creating giant waves of incredible momentum that are near impossible slow down.

Established, career politicians have relied on this fact and do what they can to perpetuate the current state and retain blind votes of the ignorant. It is when citizens become wise to this deception and begin to think for themselves that elected officials will have to truly answer to their constituencies and return decisions to the people.

This election cycle has been different in that there are small tremors of resistance to this system. Still, we are a two-party system where, despite the bloviation, the leading candidates of each party are nearly identical to one another, regardless of party affiliation. 

Understanding that every person is different, with different values and goals, is key to generating substantive dialogue and well-functioning democracy. Not everyone will agree with you, nor should they be expected to. Rather, our goal should be to create a society in which all its inhabitants have the ability to advance themselves free of oppression from a majority who would impose their will on the individual.

Irrespective of your personal views or opinions, take the time to research each candidate on their own merits and stances on the issues. Question their motives, research their assertions, and consider their character. This is not disorderly or traitorous, it is patriotic to do due diligence in selecting the next leader of our country.

One vote from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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