Why do only 40% of us vote?
Dennis Kucinich is a Democratic congressman and presidential also-ran. Kucinich graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 1973 with a BA and an MA in speech and communication. He began his political career early: he was elected to the Cleveland City Council at 23, and became mayor in 1977 at the age of 31. After spending much of the 1980's out of government, Kucinich was elected to Congress in 1996; he is currently in his sixth term. In Congress, Kucinich has a staunchly liberal and anti-war record. He is a strong advocate of national health care, clean energy, and an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Kucinich even brought articles of impeachment against Vice-President Dick Cheney, though the bill was killed before it could reach the House floor. Kucinich first ran for president in 2004; he ran again in 2008. In 2003, he received the Gandhi Peace Award, bestowed by the Quaker organization Promoting Enduring Peace. Kucinich is the author of a memoir, The Courage to Survive, as well as a collection of speeches, A Prayer for America.
Question: Why do only 40% of us vote?
Dennis Kucinich: Well I can understand why people wouldn’t vote. Because the system looks raped. People think that it doesn’t matter – that the media has already determined who’s going to be the next president, or Wall Street has already made its choice. People do not participate in the political system when they feel there’s no stake in it for them. But imagine how many people will vote. When I’m the nominee of the democratic party and people know by voting they’ll have healthcare; by voting they’ll have daycare for their children; by voting they’ll have a college education for their young people; by voting they’ll have a job; by voting they’ll clean up the environment; by voting they’ll lower their energy costs; by voting we’ll repair the global climate; by voting there will be peace. See when you put those in practical terms, then people see a reason to vote. But at this point where our political pageant is reduced to a version of American Idol, why would people care? How could they see that in any way connects to their practical aspirations? So you know my candidacy, because of where I come from . . . because of 40 years of involvement in politics and in government, I understand what it is that people care about. And then when you reach people in that way, you . . . people will . . . will . . . will become involved. It’s like build it and they will come. Build a . . . build a political system which tells people, “Don’t worry, you’re gonna have healthcare – total, universal, everything is covered. And it’s not gonna cost you anything.” That you’re already paying for it. “Don’t worry, your child is gonna have daycare. Don’t worry, your child will be able to go to college. Don’t worry, you’ve got a job. Don’t worry, we’re gonna protect your pension.” When you build that kind of an approach, people will vote.
Recorded on: 10/19/07
Build it and they will come, Dennis Kucinich says.
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