U.S. Voter Participation

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U.S. Voter Participation In a pluralist country such as America, there are numerous opinions over what society's goals should be, and the best method of achieving them. In theory, every American citizen has an equal say in the political affairs of this county. By participating in politics, people air their voices and thereby contribute to nation through representatives, hence the term representative democracy. It may seem to be beyond argument that political participation is a key objective in all democratic institutions. However, there is room for legitimate disagreement about the health of our democracy, in regards to the extent of civic participation. This raises the important question of how much participation there actually is in the United States. How many Americans take part in activities such as voting, attending political meetings, joining political parties, or even discussing politics with their neighbors? The answer is surprisingly few for a country that prides itself on democracy. However, is this low level of participation hurting our nation? In some respects, Americans are as ambivalent about political participation as they are about democratic values. On the one hand, large numbers of Americans believe that the "ordinary citizen" should play a part in public affairs. On the other hand, relatively few Americans actually take the initiative do so. Americans often hypocritically express the view that they are obligated as citizens to engage in politics, even though they are not involved in any real form of political activity. This view suggests that Americans tend to be more passive than active political participants. Active participation includes attending political rallies, meetings, and fundraise... ... middle of paper ... ... brings us back to the idea of facilitating the voting process. Is it really a good idea to make voting easier? We do not want the masses to vote simply because they can easily do so, but to put forth an effort to vote wisely. Many scholars believe that low civic participation is an underlying problem of American social decay. Our nation is too complacent when it comes to political participation. Most citizens are content to sit back and let a few elites decide the direction of our country. The solution is not to just "go out and vote," but to be an informed voter. The best way to accomplish this is to teach our children civic responsibility. Interests and patterns developed early in life often carry all the way through adulthood. Teaching young people about our democratic system and the importance of their personal involvement yields powerful returns.

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