Is Voting Enough?


As children, our parents have absolute responsibility for our lives. Without their willingness to constantly supervise and direct us we simply could not survive. However, once we attain a certain degree of economic self-sufficiency and maturity it simply becomes unacceptable to let anyone but ourselves take control of our lives. How many of us would willingly agree to have our parents ultimately decide whom we date, what we eat, where we live, what we study, or even something as seemingly trivial as what to wear for work everyday? Only a few?the physically incapacitated, the mentally challenged, the emotionally immature, and lastly the plain indolent?fail to break free from the ties of dependency.

So why is it that so many of us are happy to regress back to our childhood state when the relationship at hand involves adults and governments? Although we find sufficient cause for complaints against governmental leadership our passive behavior indicates at worst an equivocal and dangerous “government knows best” mentality and at best a complete disconnect with politics.

It is not just that Americans do not have the time to stay up to date on important issues. Many of them do not want to make the time. When faced with such enormous challenges as fixing the broken school system, confronting the threat of climate change, and improving economic opportunity for all, acting like a child is a privilege that many Americans would gladly embrace. In Oregon, we need to be aware that this privilege comes at the great price of having vested interests and ideologists make decisions that will unduly affect our lives and our communities. If we truly want change, we need to do more than cast a ballot.

Vanessa Holguin is a research associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market research center.

© 2008, Cascade Policy Institute. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the author and Cascade Policy Institute are cited. Contact Cascade at (503) 242-0900 to arrange print or broadcast interviews on this topic. For more topics visit the QuickPoint! archive.

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