Voting Is A Civic Duty Not To Be Ignored

Aaron Acharya.

Ihave voted. My vote may not change the game, but it will register my concern.

Some say that they will not vote because they do not like either candidate. I say that’s selfish and ignorant. We will never get a candidate whose vision aligns completely with ours. That candidate does not exist; never has and never will. Even if you ran for office yourself, you, the candidate, will have a significantly different platform than you the voter.

There is no such thing as not voting. When you don’t vote, you deny a vote to the candidate whose vision for the world and country is closer to yours. It is one less vote for the ideals you hold dear. Elections are not about thumbing your nose at people you disagree with.

When you are 90 and telling your grandchildren about these troubling times, they will ask you what role you played. Did you sit it out? Did you do something to better the world for them? Vote, so you can at least tell them that you performed your civic duties.

I voted for Biden and Harris. Neither of them is perfect, but this was the easiest of choices I have made in any election.

Americans who look like me are being falsely vilified, en-masse, as free-loaders, rapists, and criminals by the sitting president of the United States. I want this charade to end.

Hatred for the other has grown exponentially with the explicit encouragement of the president and silent condoning of the Republican party. I want this to change.

Blatant, overt racism has become an acceptable norm. Years of work on racial equality and fairness has been upended by the relentless and consistent hate-mongering by an insecure man with a bully pulpit. I want this changed.

The leader of our nation is a close friend of despots and dictators and considers our historical allies to be our enemies. This needs to change and America needs to be a champion of the most vulnerable among us.

Our system of government may not sustain the more virulent version of this nightmare for another four years. Trump may challenge the critical aspects of our system of government such as checks and balances, peaceful and orderly transition of power, and perhaps even the periodic elections with presidential term limits. If re-elected, he may not be beholden to anyone, even his most ardent supporters, because their votes won’t matter anymore.

Based on what we have seen in the past four years, he will openly flaunt the established norms between the various branches of government, more so if the Democrats take control of the Senate and retain the House. His party will silently look on and right-leaning SCOTUS will rule in his favor as he frequently clogs the courts with legal challenges. He will treat the United States as his private company and may instigate the heavily armed  right-wing militias and white supremacists to suppress dissent. It will take us decades to recoup the loss.

This may sound far-fetched, but our knowledge of history says that modern dictatorships don’t start with a bang. They evolve. The past four years have shown a slow crawl towards authoritarianism accompanied by faint rumblings of desires among his supporters for him to remain in power longer than the maximum 8 years. We need to reverse this trend.

So, the fate of our system of government is on the ballot this year. Compassion, dignity, humanity and harmony is on the ballot. These are easy things to decide about. Policies are made by many, but a leader sets the tone at the top. A good leader encourages us to love each other and doesn’t incite hatred. Such tone inspires respect for the agreements we have made as a society.

A good leader inspires respect for the law, but more than that, s/he inspires respect for justice, ethics and harmony.

Biden may not be THE good leader, but he is definitely the better leader on the ballot. He will not relentlessly tweet insults to world leaders or malign entire nations just because they did not toe his line. He will not encourage his supporters to arm themselves and intimidate and harm the opposition. He will not dehumanize and demonize other fellow citizens.

There are many things Biden can’t and may not fix, but of one thing I am sure: he will not capitalize on our fears. He will not encourage his supporters to harm others. He will try to be a president to all Americans. He will espouse empathy, compassion and caring for each other.

With that, we can hopefully start to rebuild the social and racial relationships that have been broken during the past four years. This is worth the vote.

Acharya has lived in the United States since 1999. He frequently travels internationally and in the U.S. for work. This is the third presidential election since he became a U.S. citizen, and he has voted in all of them.

Editor’s note: BNS neither takes political sides, nor does it endorse a particular candidate. We welcome and publish a diversity of opinions.