Get smarter, faster. Subscribe to our daily newsletter.
10 quotes from great minds on why you should vote
Don't feel like going out to vote? These ten thinkers have something to tell you.
- Everybody occasionally wonders if they should bother to vote.
- To help out, we have quotes from 10 great minds explaining why voting, and participation in politics in general, is the right thing to do.
- Some of them will inspire you, some will scare you, and some are pretty funny.
Very often, going to vote seems like a dreary chore. Between the long lines, candidates you're tired of hearing about, and endless down-ballot races you forgot to form an opinion on, it all seems like a pain. However, many great minds have taken the time to remind us of how important being involved in the democratic process is. Today, we'll look at ten great quotes about why you should go vote.
"To give the victory to the right, not bloody bullets, but peaceful ballots only, are necessary." — Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th, and possibly greatest, president of the United States. Viewed in the Victorian era as a champion of people's rights and democracy, he here reminds us that the ballot is one of the greatest tools ever devised for the advancement of the good.
"We do not say that a man who takes no interest in politics is a man who minds his own business; we say that he has no business here at all." — Pericles
Pericles was an Athenian general known for his oratory and political skill. Here, he refers to the Athenian take on political participation. So important was the idea of being involved to the Athenians that our word "idiot" comes from the Greek term idiōtēs, meaning "private citizen"—one who wasn't involved in the public life of politics.
Listen to Pericles; don't be an idiot.
"Every election is determined by the people who show up." — Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato is a professor and political scientist at the University of Virginia who is well known for his predictions of election outcomes and his work to increase civic participation.
Here, he reminds us of who has the power in a democracy: The people who actually go vote. If you don't participate, you don't have any power. It really is as simple as that.
"If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost." — Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher who studied under Plato and wrote on a multitude of topics. He wrote extensively on political philosophy and made a point of categorizing the different forms of governance which were known to the Greek world.
While he wasn't in favor of unrestricted democratic governance—he favored mixed government that had a firm constitutional basis—he did argue that democracy had its benefits and that some forms of it worked better than others. Here, he notes that a democracy where everybody is involved, either through voting or serving as a magistrate, allows the claims of those who favor democracy to be fully realized.
"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." — Plato
Plato was a Greek philosopher known for his writings on pretty much every topic. He was a follower of Socrates, and it is through Plato's books that we remember him.
Here, he states what every person who can't imagine why anybody would ever vote for "that idiot" has always known to be true.
"The only way to practice democracy, is to practice democracy." — Hu Shih
Hu Shih was a Chinese philosopher who worked in a variety of fields. His political work was heavily inspired by his college professor John Dewey. Like Dewey, he argued in favor of a pragmatic approach to social progress made possible by a democratic government and gradualist policies.
He also equated democracy with other ideas such as tolerance, minority rights, and placing value on the individual. These notions would also be advanced by a person who is "practicing" democracy.
Here, he gives a tautology that needs to be said. A democracy is only real when people go out and take part in it. Voting is the most basic element of this. Think of it: If you don't vote, then how is your life any different than if you lived in a dictatorship?
"Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote." – George Jean Nathan
George Nathan was an American editor and critic who often worked with the better remembered H.L Mencken.
Here, he reminds us that every lousy politician was voted into office by somebody. If you fancy yourself a good person and would like competent officials, it stands to reason that you ought to vote for them so they can get into office.
"Someone struggled for your right to vote. Use it." — Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony was an American suffragette, reformer, and anti-slavery activist known for her work for women's rights.
She worked for much of her life to win women the vote and was arrested for it when she cast her ballot. She founded or co-founded a variety of organizations to advance the cause of suffrage and worked for years to create the political capital that would one day buy the 19th amendment to the constitution.
With this quote, she begins to hint at the efforts she put into helping assure the right to vote for women in the United States and the efforts put in by others to maintain that right for everybody. It is a lot to throw away by not voting.
"If American women would increase their voting turnout by 10 percent, I think we would see an end to all of the budget cuts in programs benefiting women and children.” — Coretta Scott King
The wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and an activist in her own right, Coretta Scott King has an impressive list of achievements that are often overlooked in favor of her husband's work.
She reminds us that not voting has real consequences. If people who need particular polices can be counted on not to vote, those policies will not be enacted. Conversely, if they do vote, they can get the policies they need.
Her words are needed in a day and age when increasing numbers of people are somewhat cynical about whether their vote matters.
"Turn on to politics, or politics will turn on you." — Ralph Nader
An American lawyer known for his repeated runs for the presidency and consumer advocacy, Ralph Nader updates another quote by Pericles for a modern audience.
Just because you don't have an interest in how government works, doesn't mean it doesn't affect you. Plenty of people have made the mistake of thinking that a new government wouldn't try to do exactly what it said it would do and paid the price for it. The best solution for it, both in ancient Athens and the modern world, is to participate.
So, there you have it: Ten perfectly good reasons as to why you should vote. Now stop reading and do it.
- Socrates vs. John Stuart Mill: Does Democracy Work? - Big Think ›
- Why Socrates Hated Democracy, and What We Can Do about It ... ›
The COVID-19 pandemic is making health disparities in the United States crystal clear. It is a clarion call for health care systems to double their efforts in vulnerable communities.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated America's health disparities, widening the divide between the haves and have nots.
- Studies show disparities in wealth, race, and online access have disproportionately harmed underserved U.S. communities during the pandemic.
- To begin curing this social aliment, health systems like Northwell Health are establishing relationships of trust in these communities so that the post-COVID world looks different than the pre-COVID one.
COVID-19 deepens U.S. health disparities<p>Communities on the pernicious side of America's health disparities have their unique histories, environments, and social structures. They are spread across the United States, but they all have one thing in common.</p><p>"There is one common divide in American communities, and that is poverty," said <a href="https://www.northwell.edu/about/leadership/debbie-salas-lopez" target="_blank">Debbie Salas-Lopez, MD, MPH</a>, senior vice president of community and population health at Northwell Health. "That is the undercurrent that manifests poor health, poor health outcomes, or poor health prognoses for future wellbeing."</p><p>Social determinants have far-reaching effects on health, and poor communities have unfavorable social determinants. To pick one of many examples, <a href="https://www.npr.org/2020/09/27/913612554/a-crisis-within-a-crisis-food-insecurity-and-covid-19" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">food insecurity</a> reduces access to quality food, leading to poor health and communal endemics of chronic medical conditions. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified some of these conditions, such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes, as increasing the risk of developing a severe case of coronavirus.</p><p>The pandemic didn't create poverty or food insecurity, but it exacerbated both, and the results have been catastrophic. A study published this summer in the <em><a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11606-020-05971-3" target="_blank">Journal of General Internal Medicine</a></em> suggested that "social factors such as income inequality may explain why some parts of the USA are hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic than others."</p><p>That's not to say better-off families in the U.S. weren't harmed. A <a href="https://voxeu.org/article/poverty-inequality-and-covid-19-us" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">paper from the Centre for Economic Policy Research</a> noted that families in counties with a higher median income experienced adjustment costs associated with the pandemic—for example, lowering income-earning interactions to align with social distancing policies. However, the paper found that the costs of social distancing were much greater for poorer families, who cannot easily alter their living circumstances, which often include more individuals living in one home and a reliance on mass transit to reach work and grocery stores. They are also disproportionately represented in essential jobs, such as retail, transportation, and health care, where maintaining physical distance can be all but impossible.</p><p>The paper also cited a positive correlation between higher income inequality and higher rates of coronavirus infection. "Our interpretation is that poorer people are less able to protect themselves, which leads them to different choices—they face a steeper trade-off between their health and their economic welfare in the context of the threats posed by COVID-19," the authors wrote.</p><p>"There are so many pandemics that this pandemic has exacerbated," Dr. Salas-Lopez noted.</p><p>One example is the health-wealth gap. The mental stressors of maintaining a low socioeconomic status, especially in the face of extreme affluence, can have a physically degrading impact on health. <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/index.cfm/_api/render/file/?method=inline&fileID=123ECD96-EF81-46F6-983D2AE9A45FA354" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Writing on this gap</a>, Robert Sapolsky, professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University, notes that socioeconomic stressors can increase blood pressure, reduce insulin response, increase chronic inflammation, and impair the prefrontal cortex and other brain functions through anxiety, depression, and cognitive load. </p><p>"Thus, from the macro level of entire body systems to the micro level of individual chromosomes, poverty finds a way to produce wear and tear," Sapolsky writes. "It is outrageous that if children are born into the wrong family, they will be predisposed toward poor health by the time they start to learn the alphabet."</p>Research on the economic and mental health fallout of COVID-19 is showing two things: That unemployment is hitting <a href="https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2020/09/24/economic-fallout-from-covid-19-continues-to-hit-lower-income-americans-the-hardest/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">low-income and young Americans</a> most during the pandemic, potentially widening the health-wealth gap further; and that the pandemic not only exacerbates mental health stressors, but is doing so at clinically relevant levels. As <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7413844/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the authors of one review</a> wrote, the pandemic's effects on mental health is itself an international public health priority.
Working to close the health gap<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDc5MDk1MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNTYyMzQzMn0.KSFpXH7yHYrfVPtfgcxZqAHHYzCnC2bFxwSrJqBbH4I/img.jpg?width=980" id="b40e2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1b9035370ab7b02a0dc00758e494412b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Northwell Health coronavirus testing center at Greater Springfield Community Church.
Credit: Northwell Health<p>Novel coronavirus may spread and infect indiscriminately, but pre-existing conditions, environmental stressors, and a lack of access to care and resources increase the risk of infection. These social determinants make the pandemic more dangerous, and erode communities' and families' abilities to heal from health crises that pre-date the pandemic.</p><p>How do we eliminate these divides? Dr. Salas-Lopez says the first step is recognition. "We have to open our eyes to see the suffering around us," she said. "Northwell has not shied away from that."</p><p>"We are steadfast in improving health outcomes for our vulnerable and underrepresented communities that have suffered because of the prevalence of chronic disease, a problem that led to the disproportionately higher death rate among African-Americans and Latinos during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Michael Dowling, Northwell's president and CEO. "We are committed to using every tool at our disposal—as a provider of health care, employer, purchaser and investor—to combat disparities and ensure the <a href="https://www.northwell.edu/education-and-resources/community-engagement/center-for-equity-of-care" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">equity of care</a> that everyone deserves." </p><p>With the need recognized, Dr. Salas-Lopez calls for health care systems to travel upstream and be proactive in those hard-hit communities. This requires health care systems to play a strong role, but not a unilateral one. They must build <a href="https://www.northwell.edu/news/insights/faith-based-leaders-are-the-key-to-improving-community-health" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">partnerships with leaders in those communities</a> and utilize those to ensure relationships last beyond the current crisis. </p><p>"We must meet with community leaders and talk to them to get their perspective on what they believe the community needs are and should be for the future. Together, we can co-create a plan to measurably improve [community] health and also to be ready for whatever comes next," she said.</p><p>Northwell has built relationships with local faith-based and community organizations in underserved communities of color. Those partnerships enabled Northwell to test more than 65,000 people across the metro New York region. The health system also offered education on coronavirus and precautions to curb its spread.</p><p>These initiatives began the process of building trust—trust that Northwell has counted on to return to these communities to administer flu vaccines to prepare for what experts fear may be a difficult flu season.</p><p>While Northwell has begun building bridges across the divides of the New York area, much will still need to be done to cure U.S. health care overall. There is hope that the COVID pandemic will awaken us to the deep disparities in the US.</p><p>"COVID has changed our world. We have to seize this opportunity, this pandemic, this crisis to do better," Dr. Salas-Lopez said. "Provide better care. Provide better health. Be better partners. Be better community citizens. And treat each other with respect and dignity.</p><p>"We need to find ways to unify this country because we're all human beings. We're all created equal, and we believe that health is one of those important rights."</p>
A study by UK archaeologists finds that longbows caused horrific injuries similar to modern gunshot wounds.
- UK archaeologists discover medieval longbows caused injuries similar to modern gunshot wounds.
- The damage was caused by the arrows spinning clockwise.
- No longbows from medieval times survived until our times.
Battle of Agincourt.
The angle of entry into a cranium found during the excavation at a medieval Dominican friary in Exeter, England.
Credit: Oliver Creighton/University of Exeter
Can passenger airships make a triumphantly 'green' comeback?
Large airships were too sensitive to wind gusts and too sluggish to win against aeroplanes. But today, they have a chance to make a spectacular return.
Vegans and vegetarians often have nutrient deficiencies and lower BMI, which can increase the risk of fractures.
- The study found that vegans were 43% more likely to suffer fractures than meat eaters.
- Similar results were observed for vegetarians and fish eaters, though to a lesser extent.
- It's possible to be healthy on a vegan diet, though it takes some strategic planning to compensate for the nutrients that a plant-based diet can't easily provide.
Comparison of fracture cases by diet group
Credit: Tong et al.<p>The results showed that vegans were especially vulnerable to hip fractures, suffering 2.3 times more cases than meat-eaters. Vegetarians and pescatarians were also more likely to suffer hip fractures, though to a lesser extent.</p><p>One explanation may be that non-meat eaters consume less calcium and protein. Calcium helps the body build strong bones, particularly before age 30, after which the body begins to lose bone mineral density (though consuming enough calcium through diet or supplement can <a href="https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Calcium-Consumer/" target="_blank">help offset losses</a>). Lower bone mineral density means higher risk of fracture.</p><p>Protein seems to help the body absorb calcium, <a href="https://www.bonejoint.net/blog/did-you-know-that-certain-foods-block-calcium-absorption/#:~:text=Historically%2C%20nutritionists%20have%20warned%20that,may%20increase%20intestinal%20calcium%20absorption." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">when consumed in normal levels</a>. The recent study, along with past research, shows that people who don't eat meat tend to have lower levels of both protein and calcium. When the researchers accounted for non-meat eaters who supplemented their diets with calcium and protein, fracture risk decreased, but still remained significant.</p>
Credit: Pixabay<p>Another explanation is body mass index (BMI). Non-meat eaters tend to have a lower BMI, which is associated with higher fracture risk, particularly hip fractures. In the new study, vegans with a low BMI were especially likely to suffer hip fractures. That might be because having more body mass provides a cushioning effect when people fall.</p><p>Still, the study has some limitations. For one, White European women were overrepresented in the sample. The researchers also didn't collect precise data on the type of calcium or protein supplementation, diet quality or causes of fractures.</p><p>Another complicating factor: Producers of vegan products, such as plant-based milk, are increasingly fortifying foods with nutrients like calcium and protein, so modern vegans are potentially at lower risk of deficiency.</p><p>The researchers wrote that their findings "suggest that bone health in vegans requires further research."</p>