Democracy is not a spectator sport

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Taylor Allen
 Editor in Chief

The fallout from E-Day continues across America and on UNCG, as the nation tries to understand what to expect from a Trump presidency. Both his supporters and the the people who were determined never to support him seem uncertain about what exactly the future holds. But whatever your ideological leanings, this November has proven that politics is not a realm we can expect to self-regulate.

The largest lesson that people should take away from this election is that there is a real need for everyone to vote. Democracy is not something that can be watched from the sidelines, or tended to only in times where people feel good about what they are doing. If you do not use your voice in this world, you will lose the ability for your voice to be heard.

To everyone that is wondering what to do, how to proceed, I offer this: contact your representatives. Tell them at length if they are doing something that you do not agree with, and do not be dissuaded from using their time. This is especially applicable if you are represented by someone who does not share your ideologies — just because you did not initially support a candidate, doesn’t mean that you get a free pass from holding them accountable. And for those of us who are represented by politicians we supported, that we agree with most of the time, we have a job to do as well. Show your support when they make choices you feel proud of. In difficult times, demonstrating what types of action you want to see accomplished by your government is just as vital as standing in opposition to the wrongs they commit.

And those out there who are worried about the future, be sure to vote. There are local elections most years, and two years from now, two-thirds of the Senate is up for reelection. All of the House of Representatives is. If you are angry at the government, if you feel like you have not been heard, then it is time that you make your mark on the system. Do not leave a government which is supposed to be for us and by us to the interests of others.

I understand the frustration which builds up; I feel it myself. But nothing is more dangerous than complacency, or the easy cynicism which preaches that ‘what I do doesn’t matter anyways’. If you want to change what you see in the system, you must take part, and you must demand the changes you desire. The hardest thing about democracy, as President Obama pointed out in his address on Nov. 14, is that the results are not always what you want. But that doesn’t mean that your desires should not be fought for every step of the way.

With overall turnout on Nov. 8 estimated in the high fifties, the implication we are left with is that nearly half of all eligible voters declined to make their voice heard. Perhaps this election was not important to them, and maybe they would feel secure with any outcome. But I find that hard to believe.

The old saying that you can’t complain about an election if you didn’t vote isn’t true: people can and do complain about all sorts of things, especially politics. But if you feel the urge to complain about the political landscape of the nation over the next years, I urge you to first look towards yourself. Are you trying to improve your community? Are you making your voice heard?

In the aftermath of the presidential election, the time has come for everyone to take a close look at what our place in our government will be.

Categories: Opinions, Uncategorized

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