OT - Not voting...

B5JMS Poster b5jms-owner at shekel.mcl.cs.columbia.edu
Sat Sep 16 04:46:00 EDT 2000

From: James Bell <jamesb at naxs.com>
Date: 15 Sep 2000 15:02:43 -0700
Lines: 18

Jms at B5 wrote:

> >It's hard not to vote, especially when you've seen newscoverage of
> >Hatians(?) being gunned down as they stand in line to vote.  (This was
> >a few years, when the dictatorship was opposing open elections and
> >sought to prevent people from voting, thus maintain power.)
> >
> Voting is the absolute, bare minimum requirement for being a citizen.

Requirement?  Don't think so.  It is a tool of the citizenry...a tool that
no one is required to use.  It is a little thing called freedom.


From: jmsatb5 at aol.com (Jms at B5)
Date: 15 Sep 2000 15:49:05 -0700
Lines: 71

>Requirement?  Don't think so.  It is a tool of the citizenry...a tool that
>no one is required to use.  It is a little thing called freedom.

Is it a rule?  No, of course not.  I was speaking of the matter of honor and of
principle and of responsibility, things not overmuch popular in a time of
"Leave me alone, I can do whatever I want, you're not the boss of me."

One is not *required* to help a person who is being assaulted in the
street...but a basic requirement of decency and humanity is that we *try*.

When I was a guest at Chicago Comic Con a few years ago, some guy was caught
shoplifting in the dealer's room.  He punched the dealer and started running,
the dealer followed, yelling for somebody, ANYbody, to stop the guy.

Nobody moved, which is when it came inside my peripheral vision.  

The dealer got a partial hand on the guy, but the dealer was an older man, he
wasn't going to be able to take this guy, who was a toned (as it turned out
Navy) guy.  

So I jumped in and tackled the guy.  The two of us brought him down, and we
held him, against his struggling, until the cops finally showed up.

We live in a representational form of government, which has a lot of problems
and a lot wrong with it.  It also has a great deal to offer: the street lights
generally work, the mail generally comes, we are generally free to voice our
opinions without fear of gulags or death squads.

To vote is *our part of the bargain*.  If we want government to keep to THEIR
part of the bargain, how can we in all good conscience not keep *our* part of
the bargain?  

I'm not jingoisitic, I know and am quite open about all the problems of this
country and this government.  But I also vote every year, year in and year out,
good candidates and goofballs, because if I don't, then I'm not entitled to
gripe about the consequences.  

Every year, fewer and fewer people vote, meaning that our futures and our
fortunes are being dictated by an increasingly smaller portion of the
population because the rest just don't want to be bothered.

And I'm sorry, but to me, that ain't the proper perspective of a citizen.  It's
not just a one-way "gimme" street.  

To vote is not the *legal* requirement of a citizen -- and by the way, the
freedom you cite is first and foremost the freedom to choose the form of your
elected government -- but it *is* a moral and ethical requirement.

Because if you don't exercise it, sooner or later you will lose that freedom
and all the others you cherish, because those with a vested interest in making
those freedoms go away will be the ones to pass the final laws, unopposed by
dissenting voices at the ballot box.

Freedom does not equate laziness.

I said it in the show: you must choose the future you want, or others will
choose it for you.


(jmsatb5 at aol.com)
B5 Official Fan Club at:
(all message content (c) 2000 by
synthetic worlds, ltd., permission
to reprint specifically denied to
SFX Magazine)

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