My Vote Doesn't Count
That is not to say that it's difficult to care about the presidential election. I care very much about who gets elected to be the President of my government. I also care very much about my right and privilege to vote at all. But the fact of the matter is that, due to geography, time zones, and the nature of the Electoral College, the winner of the presidential election already is decided before most of the people in Hawaii even get to the voting booth.
For practical purposes, my vote doesn't count.
Would you still be motivated to vote if you knew this? If you knew that no other presidential candidate besides Ralph Nader bothered to campaign in your state? If you felt dismissed by the entire design of this national election?
It makes a big difference. If I lived in another state, I may have decided to vote for an entirely different candidate this year, because I would know that my vote actually could make a big difference. I might feel more of a sense of duty to the Democratic party. Sure, I might have paid closer attention to the details of the platforms, proposals, and promises being sold to me by each candidate. I might have volunteered to campaign. I might have engaged in more discussions with my peers about various political issues. I might have read the government section of the New York Times more thoroughly.
I may be a political slacker, but I'm still going to vote. I'm going to vote because I can. Because voting still means a lot to me, and my vote still carries a message. I'm going to vote because I care very much about the future of the country I live in. I'm going to vote because I have a strong attachment to my civic duty. I'm going to vote because I know that many people who came before me bothered to struggle for my right to vote.
It might not be more powerful than the corporate oligarchy, but I believe that a vote might be the one thing left in this country that is more powerful than money.
In Hawaii my vote may have no real effect, but it still has power. For me, voting isn't about being able to make a difference, but it's about being heard. My vote will carry a message about the issues that are important to me, about the person in whom I would have faith to lead this country into a future of hope and positive change.
Voting is the only political voice I have. I intend to shout.