The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The shortcomings of democracy

I am an advocate for democracy. Very few political systems offer levels of fairness and freedom comparable to that of a democratic system.

That said, democracy in America is a joke. The American bipartisan system could be called a playpen version of democracy. Our candidates provide an illusion of choice as the result is the same no matter what we choose.

Despite this bleak outlook of mine, there is hope. Within us voters is the power to make a real change but this power is negated because the majority of those eligible to vote choose not to.

I began to think heavily on the concept of democracy in the wake of the recent ASDVC elections, where a dismal 738 voters out of 22,000 students that make up the DVC student body showed up to vote. For several years now, ASDVChas provided those who vote with a ticket for a free hot dog to encourage students to participate in the democratic process.

To satisfy a suspicion I had, I wandered campus and asked every student who would stop to talk if they had voted and, if so, if it was done for the free hot dog. Most people said that they hadn’t voted and were not even aware elections had taken place. Of the people that voted, the majority told me they had submitted randomly filled or even blank ballots in order to get a hot dog, a handful told me they voted for their friends and two students told me they did it “for the cuties.”

Clearly there is a severe disconnect between the student body and the student government.


But this is a community college election. So what? Why does it matter? Well, if you don’t practice, how are you ever going to get good at something? With the 2012 debates going on unceasingly and the elections looming, it seems that now would be a time as good as any to understand what it means to participate in an election, to know how to compare a politicians promises to their actions, to know who a politician really represents.

Fortunately for their financial backers and unfortunately for us, politicians are rarely (if ever) called out on their rhetoric. I can remember the 2000 presidential election when those who voted for Ralph Nader were said to have wasted their vote or to have somehow stolen votes from Al Gore, which demonstrated a large problem in American democracy.

In a democratic system, a vote cannot be wasted. The idea that any candidate has a better or worse chance than any other is an inherently undemocratic idea.

This puts you, as a voter and as a politically conscious citizen, in the frustrating position of having to know which candidate, if any, is representing your best interests.

I’m not going to tell you who I’m voting for in November. I’m also not going to take the time to pick apart presidential candidates for you. They all have skeletons in their closets, and it’s your responsibility as a voter to find them out and find a politician you can live with and maybe even like.

According to the statistics of the 2008 elections, roughly half of those eligible to vote chose not to. That’s almost a hundred million people not using a power readily at their disposal. That’s your power. Don’t let it go to waste.

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About the Contributor
Aidan Herrick
Aidan Herrick, Staff member
News editor, fall 2012. Staff writer and puzzles editor, spring 2012.

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The shortcomings of democracy