The other day I spent a few hours at a fair volunteering for a political candidate. My job was simple: sit at the booth and pass out flyers. But there was one thing I didn’t think through entirely: I was volunteering on Senior Citizen Day.
For those of you who don’t know, on Senior Citizen Day most fairs let Senior Citizens in for free. Not only that, but a lot of the booths also give out tons of free stuff! It’s the day old women all across the county come home with 57 pens, 32 pamphlets, 4 bags, and a sunburn. I counted.
Anyway, as you could imagine, senior citizens kindof have engrained and immutable political opinions… which made my job interesting. The following paraphrases are based on what I heard volunteering,
“The only problem I have with her [the congressional candidate I was volunteering for] is that she’s a lawyer. I don’t trust lawyers.” -Some guy wearing a John Deere hat (or at least I think it was a John Deere hat, I just kinda picture all old men in John Deere hats)
“I’ve never voted Democrat, but I think Hillary might have my vote.” -A really, really short old guy (when I say really short, I mean like 4.5 feet short)
“Charlie tells me who to vote for.” -Charlie’s father… Or grandfather?
“I’m not gonna vote. Both of them are terrible. Both are crooked.” -Super high voiced old lady with a walker
While I was thoroughly entertained (and quite blessed with free stuff) by these older people, it made me wonder, how many of them are going to vote at all and how will that affect the election?
The way I see it is, people are only paying attention to the presidential election, so when we have two majorly disliked candidates, people will just stay home. They won’t even vote for local elections! What’s going to happen to Congress? What about governors? School boards? It will be a nation run federally and locally by people who do not represent all of their constituents, but only the vocal few.
So how can we prevent this non-representative government? My conclusion: enthusiasm. I know that’s an odd lesson to learn from Senior Citizen Day, but hear me out. Whichever campaign can generate more enthusiasm for their candidate will generate more voters, and if a campaign can get people to show up just to vote for their candidate, chances are that all candidates of that party will benefit.
“But how can I become enthusiastic if I don’t entirely agree with my candidate?” My answer: pick an issue that you and your candidate agree on, then look at the other options. Let’s take abortion as an example. Let’s assume a pro-life candidate won your party’s primary (for Senate, House, President, whatever), but you disagree with them on trade and social security. Does that disagreement have to strip you of your enthusiasm over the life issue? Of course not! No candidate is perfect, and it’s a shame that so many of us think they have to be.
That being said, what candidates are you going to support in your local, state, and federal elections? In what areas do you agree with them? In which areas do you disagree? Make a list. Pick an issue. Get out the vote. This election doesn’t have to be just a Presidential one. Spread awareness for the down ticket elections, our nation is at stake.