Taking Aim at Abstention

by Dan Ward

Bob Schieffer broadcast an excellent editorial comment this weekend on Face the Nation, reprising a message he had shared in previous campaigns in which he questions the reasoning of journalists who choose not to vote in order to prove their neutrality.

In short, Bob thinks this decision is misguided, and I wholeheartedly agree. Journalists have a professional responsibility to remain objective, but those who are also American citizens have a personal responsibility, a duty, to vote. We all do.

In their day job, journalists must stay objective, but afterwards they go home to the same obligations as the rest of us … paying the bills, taking the kids to school, volunteering in church or in the community. When they make the decision not to vote, it doesn’t show objectivity; it shows that they haven’t learned from the stories they’ve covered. It shows that they put professional responsibility above their responsibilities as mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, friends and neighbors.

This is the day when all of us, regardless of profession, family obligations or client relationships, are able to take aim for ourselves and vote for the candidates we believe in, in complete anonymity (if we so choose).

I may have clients who will be better served with Barack Obama as president. Others may be better served with John McCain. But my vote is just that … mine.

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