Jordan Tarwater

The Rev. Jordan Tarwater is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently serving as the Executive Director and Minister of the Urban Outreach Center at Jan Hus Presbyterian Church in New York City.

On Cereal and Voting

With all the talk of low Millennial voter turn-out, I was reminded of the article that circulated recently about the decline of the cereal industry — supposedly due to the inconvenience and effort required in preparing it.

There is plenty of predictable moralizing implicit in the article's Facebook popularity, as can be expected, but what if our conceptions of effort vs. non-effort are largely an effect of being differently situated in relation to time and technology?

What if we didn't have to turn-out, because nationwide, online-only voting were the new normal, instituted by federal law?

What if we didn't have to get time off to vote, because the voting period lasted a full 48 hours on the weekend, by federal law?

And, what if we didn't have to register to vote because voter registration were automated, by federal law?

The Protestant work ethic is implicit on so many levels in our national conscious, and more than in other frames, voting is one in which it resonates powerfully with structures designed to decrease participation.