It has finally arrived. After months of campaigning, positioning, mudslinging, and all the rest – it’s the day of reckoning for candidates across the United States. Along with that it’s a day that will shape much more than just the roll calls in various chambers and title placards that will sit on desks. Entire policies and initiatives hang in the balance, as well as the livelihoods of countless individuals whose jobs are tied to the various candidates. It’s a big day.
And so, you should vote. I’m not going to get into *who* I feel you should vote for here. While I do have a vested interest in politics (and this election) I am about as close to politically neutral as you’re going to find. To me, it’s the issues and the agendas of the candidates and not the party. I know I am probably in the minority in that regard but that’s fine with me. It’s always fun to watch both sides ramp up their efforts and see what the different candidates have to say about each other. Unfortunately it often leads to some really negative exchanges and as most people who know me already know, I’m not a big fan of confrontation and I’m not a big fan of negativity. So, despite the fact that I do have a vested interest in politics I try to stay out of the political ‘scene’ as much as possible. However, that being said I will most definitely be making my selections at my local polling place in a few hours.
It’s our civic duty to vote, people. Countless people have DIED over the years so that we could have the opportunity to make our voices heard. At the same time it’s your responsibility (and mine) to learn enough about the candidates to make an educated decision.
So why vote? For starters, as far as I’m concerned you forfeit your right to complain if you don’t. Not that you necessarily *should* complain otherwise but you know what I mean 🙂 I have a hard time listening to people who don’t vote complain in the years following an election. Also, vote because you should want to have a say in what happens to you and your family. There are some big issues out there – again I’m not going to get into them here for fear of this being viewed as a partisan post. But if you have paid any attention to happenings in government you know that whether it’s local or national, there are things that affect you or will affect you that are at stake with this election. So vote. Have your say in things. (This isn’t preaching by the way. I’ll be honest I’ve missed an election or two myself in the past, so it’s as much a reminder to me as it is to everyone else out there.)
Finally, I will close with a personal story that gives me all of the motivation I ever need to keep voting. A big detracting factor for people in every election is the concern that ‘My vote doesn’t count.’ Well for the record I think it’s understandable that folks feel that way. I used to feel that way too. But here’s the thing. You’re vote does count. If everyone had that attitude, no one would get elected. One year, my Dad was running for Village Board in the town where I grew up. Small town. We’re certainly not talking about hundreds of thousands of people here or anything, but it was for the Board and it was a big deal in town as these are the positions that can really shape communities and their futures. I think it was either Dad’s second or third time around after holding the seat for several previous years, and the election was going to be a close one. It just had that feel. Well I was away at the time and for some reason I believe my Mom wasn’t going to be there that day either. So we both voted absentee for my Dad. (Mom or Dad – if I’m telling this story wrong please correct me!) Folks, it turns out those two absentee votes were essentially the difference in that election for my Dad. I don’t think he won by more than just those two votes. He won though and I distinctly recall the feeling of knowing that if I hadn’t sent in that ballot, he would have lost. I’ll never forget that part. Talk about empowering.
And so your vote counts, my friends. Regardless of the size of the race, nature of the race, pre-election poll numbers – whatever. Your vote counts. Go to the polling places today. It’s your right. It’s your responsibility. Make yourself heard. Vote.
Good luck to all of the candidates today.