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Citizens have their say on democracy

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by Fiona Bock

Fiona Bock is a middle school student at Glover Community School.

GLOVER — On October 22, with the midterm elections on November 8 drawing near, this reporter stood outside Currier’s Market to ask people their opinions on democracy and voting; not just about the election, but the political process as a whole.  While people came and went, about 20 members of the public (many of whom chose to remain anonymous or only use their first name) stopped to answer a few questions.

There was a wide array of responses.  Some people were angry. A few swore and spoke of political figures, and said they are irritated by the way the government does things.  Others smiled and said they were happy for the chance to share their opinions.

In response to the first question — What is democracy to you? — several people said they didn’t know how to answer.

“It’s a big question!” said Hunter. “Wow.”

Like two people who declined to give their names, some said that democracy is “Free speech and living free.”

“Democracy is freedom to have the people choose what happens in the world,” said Ila Camara.

“I think that democracy is equal rights for all people, freedom of speech and religion,” Jim Currier said. “Democracy is having the choice to vote for whoever we want to.”

Some said that democracy was about voting, like Joan Vincent, who said that “Democracy is when the votes of all eligible voters count.”

Others said democracy is, as one woman put it, “People working together to get to a better place.  I have hope.”

To the second question — Do you vote? — many people said that they do most of the time, or, like Seth, said, “sometimes, not always.” Arrienne said that she doesn’t vote.

“I don’t feel educated enough to think about voting, or even having a say.  I’m busy, I’m doing things.  Right now, I’ve gotta go make dinner. I don’t have time to vote.”

Answering the third question — Why or why not do you vote? — people had many different views. Some said that voting was a duty.

“I’m a citizen, and I think voting is my personal duty,” Joan Vincent said.

“My forefathers have fought for me and the country that this is today,” Perry Newman said. “It’s my duty to honor them by voting.”

Others said that they vote because they want personal things.

“I vote for what I believe in, and I vote to protect my personal hobbies,” said Hunter.

“Voting helps to continue your way of life,” Riley said.

Some want to see change, like one man, who said, “I vote because I’m tired of idiots in the White House.”

Others vote because it lets them have a say in things.

“Voting is how decisions are made and how you have a say,” Trina said.  “If you want decisions made, voting is how that happens.  Voting is what represents you and how you have a say.”

“Well, I vote because if you don’t, you can’t complain about how things turn out,” Sue said. “You don’t have a right to complain if you don’t use your voice.  It is our duty to vote”.

“I think voting is a privilege — it’s a privilege to have my voice out there and have a say, a privilege to be heard,” Kate Camara said.

Some people vote because good things can come of it.

“I vote because I want freedom and peace around the world,” one woman said.

“Voting and democracy are how we solve conflicts without having to fight physically,” a man said. “That’s why it’s so dangerous that people are undermining confidence in the voting system.”

Fiona Bock is a middle school student at Glover Community School.

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