NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Midterm musings

The midterm elections are fast approaching, and candidates, celebrities and businesses alike are taking part in a nationwide push to energize the youth to become politically involved in the ballot box.

Though, in the turbulent social and political environment, perhaps more than ever, the young vote is disheartened, disgusted or disinterested in politics at all levels.

From a mass media so consumed with partisan trash talk and outrage mongering, to politicians turning to literal name-calling and twitter duels between world leaders, the political process can seem like a joke that isn’t funny anymore.

There is very little pertaining to government or politics that has not been so consumed and divided by party and ideological loyalties as to become unrecognizable.  But the foundation, the dispersing of power to the citizenry is the essential component of the American Experiment, and the Enlightenment values which inspired it.

The Constitutional Republic inverted the system. No longer was the law subject to the whim of the ruler, the leadership was to be constrained by the tenets of the law.

Brennan Cooney

The American system of government was, in its time, a radical new path of statehood. Birthed in the age of Empires, Kingdoms, and Principalities, The Constitutional Republic inverted the system. No longer was the law subject to the whim of the ruler, the leadership was to be constrained by the tenets of the law. A document, living and able to evolve as society did, to progress alongside its people, written with the expressed and clear intent of protecting the inalienable rights of the Citizen.

But, the Constitution does not rule in a vacuum, and there are many legitimate criticisms of our political process, and it is worth exploring and weighing these concerns to determine the worth of political engagement.

Some would consider abstaining from the vote as a form of civil disobedience.

To refuse to engage with a system which is bloated and corrupt beyond measure. There is value in civil disobedience and certainly a valid reason to disengage from party politics in particular.

Although, the greatest merit of the Constitutional Republic is the sovereignty vested in the individual. To actively avoid the vote, even for political cause, is to voluntarily submit to the will of those who remain active.

Still more simply do not vote because it is not important to them. Policy, laws, taxes, it’s enough to put someone to sleep, once the talking heads on TV stop yelling at each other. Especially for someone harried by responsibilities, be they work, school, or family obligation. It is difficult to make someone see the value of something they’ve had since birth. The vote might seem pointless, and unimportant.

To this I can only say, it was important to the suffragettes. It was important enough to them to be arrested, and undergo hunger strikes and other acts of disobedience to make their voices heard.   It was important to the Civil Rights movement, who endured persecution and violence and decades of supression to achieve the vote. It was important to the French people, so much as to overthrow a centuries-old dynasty and rewrite their entire society from the ground up. Representation in government was important enough to our national forefathers, that they, farmers and dock workers, smiths and tanners, launched an insurrection against the most powerful military in the western world and enlisted foreign allies to break free of the yoke of Monarchy.

This is a political article, but there is no concern for who you decide to vote for, or why. The question I would leave you with is simply,

Would you care about your vote if someone ripped it away from you? If you don’t vote, they don’t have to.