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Only losers don’t vote

| Friday, November 4, 2016

News flash: Life sucks more than the tone of this presidential election, so get on with it — the election that is, not just life. Nothing along your earthly journey will be perfect, and nobody will please you all of the time. Your greatest national treasure in the United States is the privilege to be different and the power to decide your own governance. After that, your career, your family, this election and your everyday challenges both large and small need your best thoughtful responses based on information. To be undecided today is ridiculous. Harboring the intent not to vote next Tuesday is abjectly as idiotic as “partying on” in Wayne’s World.

Voters this year are not the only — surely not the first — to endure major or traumatic political disappointments through the choices we have to consider on the ballot. I volunteered twice during my senior year at Notre Dame for congressional candidate Al Lowenstein (quite Bernie-esque in his day) who won a court ruling that nullified his June primary election loss by proving civil rights voter irregularities in Brooklyn. He then suffered another election loss in the special second September primary when his opposition’s political machine employed the same rigged voting abnormalities the court had previously struck down.

Those campaign months were nastier than anything we have seen or heard this year. Workers from both campaigns carried handguns throughout their viciously fought operations. Unfortunately, a former volunteer assassinated Lowenstein years later in his New York office. We “Lowenstein Bros” learned that in order to continue our progressive fight, we had to choose the best candidate on the ballot at the time who had a realistic path to victory — not by sitting out an election while wishing that we could vote again for Al.

To me, anyone only four days away from Election Day who is still undecided about which presidential candidate for whom to vote has no cognitive reasoning nor decision-making skills. I would not hire such a person to work with me, knowing that our office projects would have little direction and likely never be completed in a timely manner. If you, for example, loved Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz during the primaries but cannot feel the same “cruising burn” through Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton or GOP standard-bearer Donald Trump, suck on a lemon and make a choice. Gain your self-assurance and go vote!

Do you honestly believe that with all the information about both candidates that this is a difficult choice or that it is the only hard choice you will ever face in life? Ask Navy Seal Team 6 commandos who raided Osama bin Laden’s compound how split-second decision-making affects their lives. Sit on a jury during a case where life and death are your penalty options. Cuddle your child for whom you must solely decide which cancer treatment to chart.

Deciding seems easy for certain voters, depending upon the demographic categories one might occupy. Well informed anti-Trumpers obviously include any woman who has been overly harassed like the handful of women who accused Trump, or for anyone who has a sister, mother, daughter, niece or female friend and heard Trump’s vulgar Access Hollywood audio taped comments. Yet many believe that Clinton is not a trustworthy alternative. A lengthy Newsweek expose on Trump’s history of ignoring court orders along with destroying documents and emails is a must read to learn the sleazy history behind TrumpWorld’s normal operations.

Furthermore, anyone who is lazy, uninterested or supposedly demoralized enough to avoid voting on Tuesday has no initiative, drive or willingness to overcome any challenge in life. Frankly, such apathetic individuals deserve to endure negative repercussions that emanate by allowing others to decide our national agendas. These nonvoters warrant an opportunity to ache over such trivial items as the losing 3-5 Notre Dame football team.

Nonvoters, though, cause more important ailments akin to living in Dante’s Inferno — say, for example, when a low voter turnout caused by nonvoters in the 2010 North Carolina off-term election installed the GOP totally in control of the state legislature.  That legislature has precipitated the enactment of voter suppression and prohibition-skewed laws that consequently brought nationwide wrath against the state through economic boycotts by major sporting organizations and others.

Tuesday’s presidential vote is not for student body president. It is so important that I am proud to say that I first voted against Richard Nixon and his unexplained secret plan to end war. I walked from campus through the rain a mile-and-a-half to a South Bend precinct where I had registered during the summer prior to senior year. My candidate lost that year, and the Vietnam War raged another 4 years under Nixon through Laos and Cambodia. As a result, an additional 22,000 American soldiers died so that Nixon could be reelected.

My past record of voting for winners is not stellar. I lost to conservatives in sometimes-vicious campaigns to Nixon twice, Reagan twice, Daddy Bush once and Baby Bush twice. Al Gore, for whom I worked at the White House, lost Florida by a mere 537 votes. It was not until Bill Clinton won that progressives could take small incremental steps that led to Barack Obama in the White House today. But I voted — win or lose — for the candidate who was never perfect, never supported all of my issues, but could win the election. On Tuesday, be a voter or be a loser!

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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