Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I Voted. Thank You 19th Amendment!

Today is Election Day. More specifically, these are mid-term elections, which for some reason gives people the idea that they are not important. As a result, America's already abysmal voter turnout becomes even more pathetic during elections that occur outside of the glitz and glamor of Presidential politics.

Personally, I don't understand why people would waste an opportunity to exercise a right that so many people have fought, died, and protested for. I'll be damned if I'm going to sit home on election day and spit in the face of the 72 years of struggle the women and men of the Suffrage Movement went through so that I, as a woman, would have the right to step into a voting booth and cast my ballot. Thank you 19th Amendment. I hope I never take you for granted.

Further, mid-term elections are just as important- if not more important- than our Presidential elections. We all know that when it comes down to it a popular vote does not elect a President. The Electoral college does. And yes, while the President can set the tone for certain policies, and she or he can veto certain bills, it's the Senators and Representatives that are actually drafting and voting on and passing or not passing laws that affect our entire nation. Depending on the state, Governors have wide ranging decision making power. Why would you not want a say in all that? Let's say you ardently supported Candidate X for President. Then, you skipped out on mid-terms, since, you know, they're apparently not important. But now the Senate and House are controlled by a party you don't agree with, and suddenly President X doesn't have much support for her administration. And suddenly all these laws are being passed that you disagree with... oh but wait. You didn't vote, right, because it "wasn't as important"? Hmmm. Maybe it was, don't you think?

What I love most about our democracy is the egalitarian nature of the voting booth. We all get one. single. vote. Rich or poor, whatever color we may be, or religion we may practice, or beliefs we may hold, however powerful or weak we are in our day to day jobs, when we each step into a voting booth we are truly equal. It is, perhaps, the only full expression of the ideal of equality put forth in our constitution. We all have a chance to be heard. One person, one vote. A chance to really dig into the machinery of our democracy, and decide to change this, take that out, build more of this, tear that down and turn it into something else, no, leave this section alone, it's fine. We get to dictate our leaders. It is our will that decides who has the right and the responsibility to hold office and be a human conduit of the principles that make up our country. That is an awesome privilege. And a huge responsibility.
But overall, I agree with my father's perspective- that it is our fundamental duty as citizens. We live in a country guided by laws that are organic. This system requires our commitment to participate, and participate often. If some of us sit it out, the picture gets skewed to one extreme or another. The more we participate, the more our government actually reflects the people it is meant to represent.

So please. Vote today, and vote every chance you get. There is never a more or less important election. If you care about the way our country is run and the way our daily lives are affected as a result, every election is important.

"Every voter ought not merely to vote, but to vote under the inspiration of a high purpose to serve a nation." -Calvin Coolidge


  1. I gotta admit Cortney, I'm 30 years old now and I have been eligible to vote for the past 12 years and in all of this time I've not voted once for anything. I've never voted for our president, our governor, our representatives, congress members, local judges and officials....literally nothing.

    After reading this post I will admit I'm ashamed at myself for never taking the opportunity to make a difference in how this country is ran and who it is running it. In all honesty I've always been one of those people who sat back and whined about how bad the state of our country is in but aside from serving time in the Air Force I've never done anything to change it.

    Had I read this blog entry of yours on Tuesday morning when you wrote it I might have made an effort to get out there and vote. But then again I might not have because I never did any research as to who the candidates were and for what offices they were running for. So had I voted it would have been an uneducated vote which in my opinion is just as bad as not voting at all.

    But I'm motivated now...albeit 4 days after the fact to start paying more attention to our local, state, and government politics so that I can do my part as an American citizen and vote so that maybe my voice will finally be heard and I can help make a difference in this country.

    It may have taken me 12 years worth of voting eligibility and ONE person named Cortney to help change my mind about voting but at least my mind has finally been changed. So thank you Cortney for taking the time to write this because had I not read this who knows if I ever would have decided to do my part and vote in the future. But I will not sit back anymore and let everyone else make the decisions for this country. I'm finally ready to have a say..I guess you could say thanks to you I have found my voice and I intend to use it to help change our future.

    Once again....thank you.

  2. I just now saw this comment! I'm so sorry I missed it before. I can't tell you how much it means to me to hear you say that. I hope you didn't think I came off as judgmental about not voting, I'm just so passionate about being a citizen that it comes off very... strongly :)

  3. Grrr, hit post too soon! I am often frustrated, and feel my voice doesn't matter, and I wonder why I care so much- sometimes I get pretty down about things I read in the news, or anger with things I disagree with. There have been times when I've just thought "screw it, I'm so over all the BS!". God knows this whole government thing can be an awful mess sometimes. It does make me feel better though, to know that my voice matters in the way things are done. I'm sometimes in awe of how awesome our democracy is, and can be :)