Category Archives: Politics

Guest Blog: The Importance of Voting

By Xander Dale (13)

Every year, many students like you turn 18 and cast their vote, fulfilling the most basic act in our American society.  After casting your vote, your ballot will then be sent through a long and thorough process, but here is the real question – does your vote really count?

Only 45% of Americans vote, in the final tally.  What can we do to fix that?

I think a big reason the voting turnout isn’t as great as it could be is because many citizens feel that their vote is just a grain of sand on a gigantic beach, and their vote will not sway the election at all.  However, those grains of said will add up in the end.  For example, in the recent election, each candidate had a very similar number of votes, and if we had just had another couple of hundred people vote, the election could have ended differently.  A few times, a single vote or a few votes could have changed America – for example, Texas might not have become a state if one U.S. Senator had voted differently.  If only a few people had voted differently in 1960, Richard Nixon would have become president rather than John F. Kennedy.

Another likely reason American citizens decide not to vote is because registering to vote is relatively difficult here compared to other countries.  For example, a few other countries have their citizens automatically registered to vote, and I think that would be much more effective, even though it would be more work for the government.

To try to effectively increase the American voting turnout, I think there are few changes that could/should be made.  I think that some sort of “Universal Voting registration” would change the number of people voting by a large amount – a sort of “out-out” rather than an “out-in” system.  I think that the problem of voters feeling that their vote won’t matter can’t change with only 1 action, but changing other things can help.  For example, maybe the electoral colleges should be filled more proportionately, instead of all the Electoral College votes going toward the winning candidate, we could create a ratio of Electoral College votes to popular votes, in order to make the popular votes more appealing.

In conclusion, our voting process is flawed in a few ways, and there are a few ways to fix our voting issues.  These include making voting “opt-out” rather than “opt-in” system or changing the proportionality of the Electoral College.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Decision Making, Politics

Trumping the Second City

I usually love living in Chicago — a vibrant place full of character. Today, the private satisfaction of living here was scarred by the public embarrassment of being here.

I worked very hard in my SOCARE clinic today, seeing a variety of people from across the spectrum of patients we typically see: African Americans from the inner city south side, rural whites from nothern Indiana, and University of Chicago ex-faculty from Hyde Park. A colleague was out, but his patients were mistakenly scheduled, so I saw some of them on his behalf, doing my best to be helpful. Worked with the usual mix of co-workers from a potpourri of backgrounds, working harmoniously to deliver high-quality care under difficult cirsumstances. I honestly have no idea what anyone’s political views are, only a shared sense of mission against a common foe — cancer and the challenges of aging.

The workday ended long after everyone else had left, sharing a pleasant conversation with an oncology colleague, after a joint-consultation with a dying patient, both of us exhausted from a volatile mix of seeing too many patients, satisfied with having given our best efforts, and frustrated with the amount of work ahead of us over the weekend. Emotionally spent, but alive with the effort. 

On the way home, the forgotten trauma of politics in a city rich in such history, emerged through my car radio. This evening at UIC, a Trump rally was scheduled, a counter-protest was launched, the event was cancelled, and the police had to break it up. I dislike the behavior of everyone who feel hate and violence are a good answer to political differences, and I’m a little embarrassed for our city displaying this silliness. Rally, protest, or whatever you’d like, but don’t be hooligans.

Driving sadly through the south side to the athletic club where my boys are doing gymnastics, forcing my exhausted mind and body through a modest workout while watching my city’s worst side splashed across TV screens on the wall, displaying its bottom to the world, Trump’s face plastered everywhere, angry faces yelling all around, I felt annoyed.  Switching to my Twitter and FB feeds, I found they contained far too much contentless support for one side or the other, invective flung with little thought, emotions bubbling over at the evilness of Others, increasing my sadness for Chicago.

I truly wish people would spend more time trying to make the world a better place through their own efforts, rather than tearing down some other part, and ignoring the mocking Fool at the center of it all.

Leave a comment

Filed under Chicago, Politics