Leave it to Dr. Seuss to guide us through perilous times. During this election season, we’d be wise to take a page from the good doctor.
In Horton Hears a Who, the residents of Who-ville face disaster unless they speak up. The Mayor rallies the townspeople to make their voices heard in an act not just of civic duty, but of survival. Unfortunately, it’s not enough. Desperate, the Mayor races through the town in search of those who aren’t taking part. Finally, he comes across a young citizen named Jo-Jo who is just standing there, not making a sound.
The Mayor grabs Jo-Jo and implores him to come to the aid of his country in its darkest hour, saying, “Open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts.’
Jo-Jo clears his throat and shouts out a single syllable: ‘YOPP!”
That one voice makes all the difference. Who-ville is saved.
Voters should heed the wisdom of Dr. Seuss. The United States has one of the lowest voter turnout rates of any advanced democracy: even the momentous 2008 presidential race brought out less than 63 percent of eligible voters. Participation rates drop to about 40 percent in mid-term elections; and this year’s primaries were decided by only 28.5 percent of eligible voters. Too many can’t be bothered, or feel their vote makes no difference, or that it’s all the same anyway.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Voting matters. This year’s presidential candidates offer a stark contrast. The stakes are high, the results consequential. First Lady Michelle Obama has pointed out that just a handful of votes in each precinct can swing the outcome in key states.
Your vote is your voice. And as Dr. Seuss reminds us, every voice counts.
Research has shown that one of the most effective ways to increase voter participation is to make a specific plan, and to share it with your friends, especially on social media. Planning and sharing that plan increases commitment and follow-through. What’s your voting plan?