A Man On The Street

In the midst of all the excitement surrounding the recent mid-term elections, I heard an interview with an anonymous man on the street, that broke my heart.  As I was listening I thought to myself, “I understand what he’s saying.”  Then I was stirred and I exclaimed, “How sad that must be!”


This man was asked a very simple question: “Are you going to vote?”  To which he responded, “No”.  When asked “Why not”?  He spoke the words that filled me with sadness, “My one vote means nothing”.  He went on, “My vote doesn’t matter in the millions of votes that will be cast.  My vote doesn’t make any difference.”  


When you hear one person express an opinion, you can be sure that they aren’t only speaking for themselves.  How many other people feel this exact same way?  They simply didn’t get a microphone thrust into their face and asked the exact same question. 


The personal insignificance that this man expressed, in the face of the mid-term elections, can be looked at through many different lenses.  The lens of the political pundit – We must do a better job educating the electorate concerning the responsibility and the power of one person’s right to vote.  The lens of the cynic – If there isn’t anything in it for individuals, they won’t participate.  The lens of the optimist – We have two years to change his mind.  The lens of the follower of Jesus – What pain has this man experienced that has caused him to devalue his own importance?    


Not voting because he believed that his vote didn’t matter is simply a symptom of a much larger sickness.  If the reporter had the time and the inclination to dig deeper, she would have realized that this man doesn’t just think his vote doesn’t matter.  There’s a very good chance that he doesn’t believe that his life matters.  Disagree?  Let me ask you this question:  When have you ever decided to not vote, simply because you believed that your vote didn’t matter?


I think the very same thing, that this anonymous man on the street expressed, during every election cycle.  I’m just one vote.  Yet, I still always vote.  Not because I am naive enough to believe that my vote will decide who wins the election.  I vote because I can vote.  I vote, not to decide an election, but in response to the gift I have received of being able to vote.  To vote is who I am, not simply something that I do every two years. 


For this man, to vote is simply something that he can do.  But he chooses not to do it, because he believes it doesn’t matter.  He’s probably right.  As far as I know, nobody lost the mid-terms by one vote. 


For this man, voting isn’t something that he wants to do.  For he not only sees no value in his one vote, he sees no value in the gift that he has been given, to cast one vote.  He sees no value in the gift that he has been given, to cast one vote, because he sees no value in himself.  Someone, somewhere, someway, somehow taught this man that his voice doesn’t matter.  That he doesn’t matter.  Thus, his vote doesn’t matter.



This makes me very sad.  Sad for this man and sad for all of the others out there who feel the exact same way.  The political pundit will say – Shame on him for wasting the right to vote.  The cynic will say – He’s right.  Nothing matters anyway.  The optimist will say – Smile, for tomorrow is another day and there will be other elections.  The follower of Jesus will say – How can I walk with you and help you to understand how valuable you are, in the eyes of God?