Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Sunday, May 26, 2024

Editorial: Sink or swim, we're all in this together - so vote


esday’s the day: Florida’s primary elections and Gainesville city elections. Many of you have probably enthusiastically cast your vote already, or perhaps you’re dead set on voting tomorrow for your proclaimed best candidate forever. If either of these is the case, then this piece isn’t for you. We dedicate this number to all those who generally abstain from voting, who genuinely feel as though their vote means nothing, especially in such a rigged system. Admittedly, you’re not misguided in your anger.

We get it: Politics can be ugly. It’s as though Shakespeare was prophetically warning us of this election season when he quipped, “All the world’s a stage.” But the solution to the political game isn’t ambivalence — it’s vigilance. When Americans abstain from the political process, corruption festers. This isn’t a conspiracy theory, it’s reality.

Why is it we Floridians, the majority of whom want action taken against climate change amid rising sea levels and depleting aquifers, remain under the authority of a governor who banned the Florida Legislature from uttering the words “climate change”? Maybe it’s because voter turnout two years ago was an embarrassing 50.5 percent, leaving Gov. Rick Scott a victory by a margin of just over 64,000 votes. In terms of Florida’s voting population, that is not a lot of votes. Even on a bad day, The Swamp easily holds over 50,000 people. We could have rounded up the other 10,000 from the morning Starbucks line at Library West.

If nothing else convinces you of the dire importance of voting, look to what Congress is doing to shadily undercut voter turnout. Congress and state legislatures across the country legislate contingencies to voter rights, which often sound reasonable in theory, but in practice negatively affect racial minorities and the impoverished.

For instance, preventing felons from voting sounds reasonable at the surface: Why let murderers and thieves take part in electing public officials? Well, felons aren’t just “urban thugs,” as Fox News and CNN would have you believe. In our lovely state, possessing 0.7 ounces of marijuana is felonious. So throw together these voter restriction laws and our criminal justice system, which punishes low-level drug offenders, and we have a state in which 23 percent of our African-American adult population is legally disenfranchised from voting. Clearly, certain officials only want certain populations to vote.

If they really wanted all of us to vote, there’d be a voting booth on every city street, in every Wal-Mart parking lot and in every new smartphone, preinstalled as an app. Your vote isn’t simply a right so many fought and died for, as the common argument goes. It’s a privilege the person next to you on the bus or at the grocery store might not have.

So, to those still reading — hi, thanks for putting up with our rant — please go vote Tuesday. And while we don’t currently officially endorse a candidate, we do ask you to carefully consider each candidate’s propensity to flip-flop, make “hands” jokes or arouse xenophobia. And at the local level, do some light reading about each mayoral and commission candidate; whomever is elected will have a direct impact on our Gainesville community. This election, and more importantly you, the readers, are too valuable to take a backseat to the political process.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.