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