07/24/07 — Quality, quantity: Americans need to start valuing votes they have

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Quality, quantity: Americans need to start valuing votes they have

Want to know why there is reason for concern about making it easier for just about anyone to cast a vote in this country? Want to guess why basing a debate on questions gleaned from basically an Internet chat room has its drawbacks?

The reason that so many people are so worried about making it possible for someone to sign up and vote on the same day in North Carolina — and why more than a few people shook their heads at the idea of a You Tube-based debate — is that voting should not be a right with no responsibility.

This country does not need to make it any easier to vote. It is already easy enough. All you have to do is follow the rules.

What this nation needs is more informed voters who take the time to learn about the candidates and have an idea of the direction they want to see this country go before they punch a ballot.

It needs people who base their opinions about foreign and domestic policy on news, not pop stars. Or, we need pop stars who spend more time catching up on the real facts of the real world before they start trying to influence young minds and hearts.

The United States needs more people who understand that the most valuable right they have as an American is the ability to decide their own futures. And we need more people who realize there is a responsibility that goes along with that right. We need them to protect their vote with the same ferocity and determination that they protect their homes and property. We need fewer people who just check a box because someone told them, too — no matter which party they are checking the box for or how worthy the candidate might be.

We need to reignite some Americans’ interest in the political process and to get as many people excited about voting for the next president as they get about texting in their choice for the next American Idol.

We need being smart about your country and the issues it faces to be fashionable and cool again. We need fewer people with voter registration cards who cannot identify the men and women who run their governments.

We need an electorate that is involved at all levels — local, state and federal. We need young people, middle-aged people and senior citizens who are not willing to sit back and let someone else make decisions that could profoundly affect their lives.

We don’t need more voters. We need better ones.

We don’t need to make it easier to earn the right to cast a ballot — we need to make it an honor you have to earn — just like a driver’s license.

By upping the ante, we can make a better country. Expect more and get more will be our new mantra.

Published in Editorials on July 24, 2007 11:17 AM