Americans enjoy a privilege which, while not rare on Earth, is unavailable to billions of other Earthlings: We have the right to vote.The word “privilege” is used with a purpose; the U.S. Constitution gives Americans the right to vote, but does not require it. If voting were a legal requirement, in the 2000 election, 100 million Americans could have been arrested, as pundits lamented the “Vanishing Voter” phenomenon.
But with all of its faults, no one could ever say America is hidebound. In the span of a mere decade, the Vanishing Voter has been supplanted by the Engaged Voter. We’re now experiencing one of the most promising phenomena of the current age: increasing fervor and investment of the American electorate in the political process.
Regardless of how you feel about the grassroots political movements that have sprung up recently, they have not only given voice to those who share their values, but, to paraphrase Newton, they have engendered an equal and opposite reaction from those who inhabit the other end of political philosophy. Plus, this vociferous differentiation has motivated independents - the electoral power brokers of the past generation - to declare their leanings earlier in the campaign cycle.
Nothing bad happens when American voters get fired up about the political process, regardless of whether they march to the left or the right, or mark time in the middle. Pressure to take a political position typically manifests in becoming a more informed voter. And if America is to ever solve its many serious challenges, those solutions will be demanded by an informed electorate who “hire” representatives to serve them, rather than anoint a self-serving political class.
If American small businesses formed their own country, Small Business USA, here’s how Wikipedia would describe it. Population: 125 million (25 million owners, 70 million employees, 30 million dependents). Economy: $7 trillion - largest on the planet. Exports: Virtually all industries. Quality of contribution to society: Significant. Political influence: Negligible.
With so much to contribute, American small business owners have many reasons to catch the tide of electoral fervor and become more involved in the political debate. With so much at stake, between national and global challenges and opportunities, we small business owners have to make our positions known to those who represent us, rather than passively accepting policies we’re given by those who could rightly assume that we don’t care.
Join the political debate, and contribute to the process.
Recently, I discussed this issue on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show. Please take a few minutes to listen, and, as always, leave your comments. Listen Live! Download, Too!