Opinion | Not voting is a choice – the wrong one

Abstaining from voting in an election year doesn’t absolve you from participating in a flawed system.


Katie Goodale

The Hawk the Vote website is seen on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020.

Zeina Aboushaar, Opinions Columnist

The past four years have been painful for many Americans and it seems that the flawed system of voting is the only way out — America’s only hope. Every time we tried to voice our concerns, our pain, and our anger, we were yet again denied our liberties. The only thing that can save us is all of us getting out to vote, voting by the millions, and committing to voting like never before. Believe in the system, however broken it is, because the alternative is nothing.

There are many that challenge the idea of voting. with the assumption that one vote won’t matter in a sea of millions. But, in a democracy, voting is not individual. Power is in the people as a whole, and if we join together for the right causes then our voices will finally matter for once. It’s time to commit, as a community, to fight for making an equal world for all. Every day thousands of people are dying due to the corrupt government leadership and the wait is over.

We simply cannot wait any longer. In 2020, we need every voice speaking in unison and by demanding for the leaders we believe in, we demand for social justice. According to AACT Now, “Increasing the number of people that vote in each election means better representation, more funding to our communities, and a better quality of life.”

Not voting is a tacit endorsement of the winner. This election is inevitable whether you vote or not, and in not voting you silently say, “I accept the outcome of this.”

Even if there are no good options in your eyes, the lesser of two evils still exists. If the greater of two evils wins, your lack of support for the lesser is as good as an endorsement of the greater.

In a Ted talk, Eric Liu stated that, “From the Revolution to the Civil Rights Era, the United States had a vibrant, robustly participatory and raucous culture of voting.” In the 19th century, immigrants fueled the culture of voting, which only grew with each new wave of voters. After the reconstruction, when African Americans were given the right to exercise their votes, they celebrated in parades. The civil-rights movement, which advocated for equal citizenship after being denied by Jim Crow, put voting in the center of its movement. Generations of activists knew that voting matters and it is the only opportunity given to the people to claim power.

Not voting now is a slap in the face to every activist who fought for the right to vote.

Instead of being afraid of silence, be afraid of the people who have caused it. It is the people in power who have tolerated the violence and racism in our country. It is the people in power who turned a blind eye to the injustices that minority groups face on a daily basis. They have built a system that justifies the pain of others and it’s time to tear that system down. When we vote, even if it is out of anger, we are fulfilling our own beliefs. We are fighting for the power we wish we had.

Our speeches have gone unheard. Our protests have been denied. This is a revolution against the corruptness of the system. A revolution of ideas, and policies, and power. Let’s vote this power into existence.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.