DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a new voter, but already I feel like it doesn’t really matter whether or not I vote. I have been paying attention to what’s going on in our country, and it’s not good at all. The political climate is in terrible shape. I believe that regardless of who votes for what, the government will ultimately decide on how the country is run. I wanted to get your opinion on this matter and ask if you believe voting makes a difference. -- Apathetic
DEAR APATHETIC: You are not wrong when you say that the political climate of our country is poor and that the government decides how the country is run. What you may not realize is that the government is made up of elected officials and appointees.
Those who are elected have a direct relationship to the voter, and that includes you. While our democratic system is flawed, what is important to know is that it is designed to function with the voter in mind. Your individual vote and your voice can make a difference.
I recommend that you study the issues that are most pressing for you. Do additional research to find out what organizations are working to bring light to those topics. You may want to get involved with an activist group that is working on behalf of the things that you care about the most. The more deeply you engage in the political process, the greater chance you have of making an impact on our country.
Know that being apathetic and disengaged is not helpful. Too many people are armchair critics who complain about what they don’t like about our country without taking the time or effort to make a difference. You matter. Make your voice and vote count!