Inactivity Timeout

This post was originally published in March of 2015 as part of a series called 500 Words To Save The World. Given the political maelstrom in which we find ourselves in 2016, it struck me as worth re-issuing. As the Irish statesman Edmund Burke aptly said,

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Do whatever you must to avoid being one fitting his description.

One day I received an email from my library informing me that my card was about to expire, however if I had used it within the last year it would automatically be renewed, no further action necessary. By simply using something, I was permitted to keep using it.

I subscribe to a satellite radio service, and on the weekends I regularly listen using an app on my phone. If I stay on the same station for more than two hours, without pressing any buttons, the music pauses due to something called an “inactivity timeout.” The reason they do this is their resources are finite, and if I were no longer listening, they’d rather not use up their bandwidth playing music to an empty room. Of course ,to keep listening all I have to do is click a button. I do not consider this an inconvenience nor a hardship.

We Americans have one of the worst records in the world when it comes to turning out for elections. According to The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) from 1945-2014, the USA on average saw 47.5% voter turnout, which is 15.2% below the international average of 62.7%. Italy is the leader with 89.4%.


They say, “if you don’t vote, you can’t complain,” but when has that ever stopped anyone?

Something needs to be done so that winners of American Idol don’t get more votes than the winner in a Presidential election. (Not a joke, CLICK HERE)

Americans don’t like to have things taken away from them, so leveraging that idea I have a proposal:

Once you are registered to vote, and you choose not exercise
that right for five years, your ability to do so expires,
and to vote again you must re-register.

Now, before you all start screaming about disenfranchisement, let me be perfectly clear: I am not suggesting anyone’s right to vote be taken away, only that to keep it you must actually use it.

I had a dog that hated vegetables. Put a slice of cucumber in her bowl and she would not touch it. Then, I got another dog. Once the idea that the other dog might get the cucumber came into play, the first dog suddenly loved them.

Human beings tend to take for granted the things that we believe are not at risk, which is the very definition of “granted.” However, once there is a threat of loss, our vigilance kicks in and suddenly (pardon my language), we give a shit.

The voting rolls are rife with duplicates from people moving from state to state. My plan, solves this problem as well.

Decades of attempts have been unsuccessful in lighting a fire under the collective arse of more than half of eligible American voters.

Perhaps bringing a second dog into the house will be enough to get everyone to eat their cucumbers.

America is credited with creating the modern democracy. And this single, simple idea could prevent us from also being responsible for its demise.

Copyright © 2016 – Stephen S. Nazarian – All rights reserved.(Inactivity Timeout)

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