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Kobe explains why he votes (and that he liked Sex and the City)

Oct 25, 2012, 6:25 PM EDT

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

We are less than a week away from the start of the NBA season. We are two weeks away from something far more important — a presidential election. And beyond 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue you’ll have the chance to vote on who represents you in congress down to local issues on schools and much more. Things that impact your every day life.

Voter turnout in the United States is abysmal — unless you’re talking Dancing With the Stars. Then it’s great. But for the leader of the free world, not so much.

Kobe Bryant was one of those people who didn’t vote, but in a personal blog on iVillage he explains why that changed for him and how empowering voting is.

That’s a powerful feeling, one that I’ve taken for granted in the past. In the past I believed that not exercising my right to vote would not make a difference in who became the next president so why should I take the time to learn the issues? I’d rather be shooting hoops! The change occurred when Vanessa and I had our babies. Neither of us grew up in politically charged households so the issues weren’t things we were necessarily excited to read about and discuss to say the least. It was ESPN for me and “Carrie Fever” (Sex and the City) for her. (Yes, I watched the show and loved it… It was quite “informative.”)

As parents, the importance of the world we live in became a priority. Nothing is more important than the future of our little munchkins. They are now nine and six and are learning about the civil rights movement and the fight for women’s rights so they naturally have questions. Why were African Americans forced to sit in the back of the bus? Why couldn’t women vote?

The most important answer we can give them outside of the ones found in our history pages is that our world has CHANGED for the better because individuals fought for their rights while inspiring others to do the same.

First things first — I watched Sex and the City too and will defend that show. Well, not the ending or the second movie, but for the most part. I’ll stand with Kobe here. That was genuinely good television.

Not to go all eighth grade American history but…

We are a very lucky people — we get to have a say in our government. If a newly formed democracy on the other side of the world held and election and had our voter turnout the 24-hour news stations and talk radio would rip them. Rightfully. You can say the candidates don’t inspire you or that you don’t make a difference, but that’s not good enough. If enough people believe what you do you can change your town, your state, and much more. If you walk away, everyone else gets to make that choice for you.

Just get out and vote on Nov. 6. Then get home to watch the Detroit vs. Denver game that night. They don’t overlap.

  1. pikindaguy - Oct 25, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    ” I watched Sex and the City too and will defend that show. Well, not the ending or the second movie, but for the most part”

    Spot on, it makes me sick still that Big and Carrie ended up together after 6 seasons of a torturous, tumultuous affair.

  2. manchestermiracle - Oct 25, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    I voted from the age of 18 until just recently, about 35 years worth. My choice never won, never even got close. The Democrats and Republicans dominate the field, switch places every four or eight years, and have slowly but surely run the country right into the ground. They are entirely beholden to moneyed interests and will never do what is best for the whole country, just for those who write them checks. Since I don’t have a million dollars to donate in order to get on the radar, I see no point in wasting my time.

    I live in a state that reliably casts its votes for one particular party, so their presidential candidate of choice will get all the electoral college points. Same one-party bent for state and local elections. When the system is overhauled and the president is elected by popular vote instead of the dysfunctional electoral college that marginalizes half the country I’ll consider voting again.

    The last place I need to be told to get out and vote is a sports site, especially by a professional athlete that must be torn by the two choices for president: Go with the (half) black guy because he’s slightly more moderate, or with the white guy because he plainly intends to favor rich people? Tough choice, Kobe, even though Democrats and Republicans are really nothing more than opposite sides of the same coin. Me? I lean Libertarian, but even that label has been tarnished by the likes of Ron Paul and Ayn Rand. Show me a candidate that tells the American people the hard, unpopular truths they need to hear and I’ll show you someone who wouldn’t last a month on the national stage.

    • sellahh - Oct 26, 2012 at 3:02 PM

      highfive

  3. tribefever - Oct 25, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Here’s your eighth grade history lesson:

    The United States is a constitutional republic not a democracy.

    • manchestermiracle - Oct 26, 2012 at 9:49 AM

      Your label is technically correct. The Founding Fathers were as afraid of a democracy as they were a monarchy. However, a true constitutional republic actually requires its citizens to understand the role of government and do their part to keep it in check. Last time I looked the federal government pretty much does whatever it pleases. That’s on us.

      Elected representatives, particularly at the federal level, owe their success to campaign contributions and rarely make moves designed to assist the voters who put them there. Those democratic processes mimic a democracy, but the Founders wanted concrete limits on government power. Two hundred plus years later many of those limits have been watered down or bypassed completely. It is the citizenry’s apathy and ignorance that has permitted this bastardization of the Republic and it is the citizens’ responsibility to correct it.

      Many of the Founders, George Washington in particular, despised political parties and often warned of their pernicious influence. We would be collectively wise to water down the two major parties by voting for alternatives, but I’m surely not holding my breath for that day to come.

  4. davidly - Oct 26, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    The Democratic and Republican parties have effectively shut anyone else out of the debate. This is a fact. They even sue to keep people off the ballot, which is almost unreported, certainly not reported in the popular news.

    Usually, when I hear of someone stressing the importance of voting for voting’s sake, it is a Democrat urging someone they assume shares their values not to stay home, but to keep someone else out of office. If you respond by telling them that you’re gonna vote third party, they get pissy with you for throwing your vote away. Not everyone does this, but most people who consider themselves politically astute do.

    Changing the fact set forth in my first sentence will not happen by voting R or D.

  5. sellahh - Oct 26, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    I have never voted and I doubt I ever will. For exactly same reasons Kobe doesn’t vote.
    That feeling of power? It’s amazing, no denying that. But who wins is mostly who’s a better trashtalker and who has a better team behind oneself. It’s not who’ll do more good. Besides, who cares about presidents? You want to achieve something, work for it.

  6. jordanismyidol - Oct 26, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Blah blah blah who cares

    • sellahh - Oct 26, 2012 at 3:37 PM

      egzaktlei

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