A little bit of perspective for those upset about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton being the options for President in 2016. Bear with me through the data part. Donald Trump has received 10,644,396 votes or roughly 7% of the registered voters in the US (and only 4.8% of the eligible voting population.) Hillary Clinton has received 12,432,259 votes or roughly 8.5% of registered voters and 5.7% of eligible voters.
Judging by historical turnout and election numbers, the eventual winner will receive slightly more than 50% of only 55% of the eligible voting population who chooses to participate. This means that our choices for president have been decided by only 10.5% of the population. The eventual winner will have received votes from 29% or less of the eligible voting population.
Representative government only works if people get involved folks. Far too many people sit on the sidelines and complain or, worse, claim that politics doesn't affect their lives. And then we end up with an unrepresentative Government which pursues policies that a vast majority of Americans don't approve of. And people wonder why.
No one is forcing the silent majority to be silent. They've done that to themselves. You have the power to change your government, to change your life, and to change the lives of your children and grandchildren.
This power is the result of an incredible innovation in human history: self-governance. It's codified by your rights to privacy, free speech, due process, and most importantly the right to vote. It has been fought for countless times in the history of this country and the history of mankind. Soldiers have fought and died for this freedom. When you say "my vote doesn't matter" or "it's only one vote" or "my state always goes Blue/Red anyway" you're disrespecting the memories of everyone who has shed blood for your right.
It's easy to be cynical. It's easy to give up hope in the system, to claim it's all rigged and can never be fixed, to claim that you're too small or insignificant to matter. Well, nothing worth doing is ever easy. It's hard to find time to vote, to educate yourself about candidates and policies. It causes conflict to voice your political opinion to friends and family. But it's worth it. Because we're all in this together. Because one person staying home, multiplied times a million, is a million lost voices.
I personally am very disappointed in the way this election has gone. I think a lot of great candidates lost and that neither of the two major party nominees has what it takes to fix our broken nation. But I'm also hopeful and I will always be hopeful, because I know that America provides me with the opportunity to voice my opinion, to convince my fellow citizens, to petition my government, and to elect my own representatives.
I have the power to change my government, you do, we all do. So no matter how down you are, or even how disgusted you are, stay engaged. We need you. The more of us there are working to make things better, the better things will be.
Make sure you show up and vote, no matter who you support. Don't let anyone convince you there's a good reason to stay home. And don't let anyone convince you that voting your conscience is "wasting your vote" or "letting so-and-so win."
Your vote is a sacred right as an American. Don't neglect it.
Adam Schuster is Algonquin Township Precinct 30 GOP Committeeman