I’ve been told that if I don’t vote then I don’t get or have a say, as if voting alone gives us a right to an opinion. This sounds a lot like oppression if you ask me, you know, the sort of thing that America has strived to eradicate for the last couple hundred years. The First Amendment of our Bill of Rights affords me the freedom of speech, which automatically gives me a say. When I tell my fellow countrymen and women that I don’t vote, they never ask why, but gaze at me with disappointed eyes. Maybe they never ask me why because they’re too busy telling me what a shame it is that I don’t vote. Maybe they never ask why because all of a sudden, in their eyes, I’ve become less of an American or that I’ve lost all understanding of what it means to be an American. At times my fellow Americans have ostracized, mocked and persecuted me. At times the “voter” has been quick to speak of me as un-American, ignorant, arrogant, ungrateful, unpatriotic, selfish, spoiled or other, but the truth of the matter is no voter wants to hear why this non-voter doesn’t vote and since nobody ever asks why I’ll just tell you. Voting doesn’t resolve a difference of opinion or a difference of beliefs. In other words, I don’t vote because I want solutions. I respect this country’s freedom and the freedom she affords us as citizens to vote for or against her inhabitants. Since when did the people of this free republic decide to subdue other people’s liberties and freedoms? Since when did we as a people start using our personal opinions, beliefs and judgments to trump an individual’s right to exercise their personal freedoms? The representatives of this nation, that means you and me, are here to uphold and protect the liberties of all people. We’re not here to agree or disagree with peoples choices, but to be indifferent toward the liberty of their choices. Here’s an example of how we take advantage of our freedom. Our Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence defends Prop 8 which means it’s a non issue. Furthermore, to have voted yes on prop 8 tells the world you discriminate. Not to mention it teaches our children to discriminate. Having an opinion of what freedom should be under minds freedom itself. We as a people need to stop using our freedom, our American freedom to oppress people’s personal definitions of liberty. We American’s need to stop oppressing other people’s interpretations of what liberty and freedom means to them. We need to start living as free people and not as the dictators of freedom. A great man once said, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed (freedom).” This man was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and now, after all these years, I know what he’s saying. He’s saying we need to stop drawing lines of distinction between ourselves; whether that line is color, spiritual, political, class, or other. He’s saying we need to look at and decide on all issues as a people, as one nation. He’s saying we as a people need to find solutions to our problems without the use of our opinions, judgments and beliefs. He’s saying we need to mature. To view this article in its entirety, go to http://www.nonvoter313.blogspot. com/. Mike Fabel is a Rocklin resident and has been an avid writer of poetry, philosophy, theory, religion and reform (governmental and educational) for over 15 years. Please feel free to contact him with any questions, comments, and/or concerns at: firstname.lastname@example.org.