Apathy – noun, lack of interest, enthusiasm or concern.
Today I had the opportunity to help the League of Women Voters, register graduating seniors to vote. Kids from three area high schools were coming to one location to pick up their cap and gown for graduation. While they were waiting in the car line, we approached and asked if they were registered to vote. If they were interested, we gave them a form to complete and then we collected the forms at the end of the line once they got their cap and gown. In the hour and a half that I was there, we must have registered between 20-30 kids! New voters. I had one parent tell me it was none of my business whether her kid was registered. I had one student say they weren’t interested, and a few were already registered to vote. Other than that, we had a very positive reception.
I already had scheduled time to work with the voter registration prior to speaking with Phil Halpern on Monday. I was thinking about what he said in his take-away as I was working out there. People ask, “what can I do? I am just one person; I can’t really do anything.” Well, today, just one person (me) registered a bunch of new voters! That is significant! There were 3 other people helping with the voter registration drive, and they also made a significant impact in registering these young people. Many of the kids were excited to have the opportunity to register so easily.
Voter registration is just one way to stay involved. We can write letters to our Congresspeople. We can write letters to our newspapers. We can make phone calls. We can volunteer to help people get to the polls on election day. We can send thank you messages to the corporations that signed a statement opposing “any discriminatory legislation” that would make it harder for people to vote.
Apathy is the enemy, as Phil said. Democracy is supported by our participation. The founders of our country created a democratic republic, a system of government in which the power to govern comes from the people, but ELECTED officials represent their interests. This is what we learned in our civics classes.
In the 2020 election cycle, approximately 66% of registered voters submitted ballots. It is typical to have a higher voter turnout for a presidential election. The elections that will be held in 2022 are equally important. Stay informed. Attend town hall meetings or local council meetings to educate yourself and to voice your opinions. Get involved in groups that support the causes that are important to you. Many of these groups have a great deal of influence in Congress. Vote, volunteer, educate, write letters … stay involved. Don’t let apathy become your enemy.
Let me know what you thought about the show on Monday with Phil Halpern, and let me know how you plan to stay involved.