5 Things That Are More Patriotic Than Voting

Why You Shouldn't Feel Bad About Not Voting

Voting is a right in the United States, one of the most important we have. But the act of voting has been equated with patriotism in modern history. If you don't vote, you're considered unAmerican in some circles. Many people feel that voting is both a civic duty and obligation, and that the right to vote does not carry with it the right to not vote.

But with the growing influence of money in politics and given the slim chances one vote can actually make a difference, it can be argued that voting has nothing to do with one's love for their country and that, for the average citizen, many activities have a far greater benefit to mankind than the act of casting a ballot.

Here are five things, in fact, that are more patriotic than voting.

The next time someone gives you a hard time for not voting, be the contrarian. Tell them you're every bit the patriot because you do one, or several, of the following.

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Paying Taxes

Tax Day
Taxes help pay for the United States military and other government services. Getty Images News

Paying taxes is unpopular and unpleasant, sure. And yes, there's plenty of waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government. But don't forget: Your tax dollars pay for the equipment that protects American soldiers who defend us and put their own lives at risk on foreign soil. Your tax dollars also help treat those soldiers for debilitating mental and physical problems when they return home.

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Attending a Public Meeting

Detail - The County Election by George Caleb Bingham
The County Election by George Caleb Bingham.

Get involved. Yes, it's nice to vote once or twice a year. It makes you feel good about yourself, you know, doing your civic duty. But the benefits to society of attending meetings held by your local government or school board on a regular basis and questioning your public officials will far outweigh those of casting one ballot now and then. You might even consider running for Congress. Talk about patriotic!

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Visiting a Veterans Cemetary

Memorial Day 2007 - Arlington Cemetary
Arlington Cemetary. Getty Images

It doesn't have to be Veterans Day or Memorial Day for you to pay your respects and say thank you to the men and women who died serving their country. There's nothing more patriotic than planting a small American flag at the gravesite of a soldier.

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Celebrating the Fourth of July

Fireworks over Chicago skyline
Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Have a picnic. Spend time with family. Take your kids to a parade. Most important, spend some time reflecting upon July 4, 1776, the date our Declaration of Independence was adopted and the United States of America as an independent nation was born.

Read the document and consider its meaning:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."


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Volunteering at a Veterans Affairs Hospital

VA Hospital
Spending time helping our veterans at a VA hospital is perhaps the supreme act of patriotism. Getty Images

Spending time helping our veterans is perhaps the supreme act of patriotism. More than 140,000 volunteers have spent some 11 million hours giving back to veterans at the nation's network of VA hospitals. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is always seeking volunteers for many of its programs, including those that help homeless veterans by providing transportation to and form VA hospitals and host "welcome home" celebrations, among other services.

Yes, Voting is Still Important

All of this is not to say that we are discouraging you from voting, or that we take lightly the right to vote. The right to vote, sadly, is taken for granted by too many in the United States who do not understand or forget that, not so long ago, certain groups of American citizens were denied that right.