Daniel’s Tribune article on the lack of election participation was really disappointing to me. You can read the March 8 article here. As an active duty military member, I can understand exactly what Daniel is writing about. How many times have we heard someone say we’re in Iraq to fight for freedom and democracy. That same freedom and democracy that inspired just 27,948 of the 179,353 registered voters in Tampa to take 10 minutes out of their day to visit the ballot box.
As a Florida resident who is also a military member, I vote via absentee ballot on every election since I left the Tampa Bay area. I’m registered in St Petersburg but I’m stationed in Utah now. But guess what Tampa, I still voted in the election last week. Why? Why should I care when I don’t even live in the city anymore? I vote because I should vote. Because I care about what goes on in my state of legal residence. I vote because it’s the right thing to do.
So why is it so many Tampa residents didn’t vote last week, even though they have the right and freedom to do so? Quite simply, because they don’t care. Oh sure, you’ll here excuse after excuse about how they forgot, didn’t have time, or didn’t think their vote was important. Sorry folks, those reasons are not good enough for me. Apparently Tampa residents prefer to simply pay their taxes and have no say in the city government that determines everything from how much taxes are to how many police are employed by the city.
Each and every resident who chose not to vote is saying this. No matter how many military members died to give me the right to vote, I don’t care. Maybe I should use some catch phrases that Republicans like to use and adjust them for possible use as get out the vote signs during the next election. See if any of them sound familiar.
- If you don’t vote, the terrorists win
- If you don’t vote, all the military who died to give you that right have died in vain
- They hate us for our freedom. We vote because we love freedom
- Support the troops, VOTE!
- You’re either with us or against us. If you’re with us, you need to vote
If people want to show their support for us military members, forget the flags and car magnets, get out and vote next time. This Tampa election, and probably so many others in FL and around the country every year, is an embarrassment when people don’t vote. If you don’t want to vote, fine, don’t vote. But I say we have a ballot measure that automatically raises taxes by 20% unless 3/4 of the eligible voters vote. If 3/4 of the people vote, no tax increase that year. If they stay at home like they did in Tampa, taxes go up. I guarantee people will vote next time.