Icarus was a test pilot (galwithglasses) wrote,
Icarus was a test pilot

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Please take time to vote - sort of an essay

Today is Election Day in the US.  This day means a lot to me.  Everyone has something that they feel really strongly about: taxes, abortion, drones, health care, global warming, clean water, sufficient food, a local millage increase, a wolf hunt or Sam Winchester's hair.  Lots of folks know that I find the legislative branch of our government more frustrating than a wad of gum stuck in the hair of a two-year-old or a jammed garbage disposal.  Often, the country seems to run in spite of government rather than because of it.  It's tempting to want to turn my back entirely and ignore it all, but because I am nothing if not a contradiction, voting is a huge deal for me.  I can't stress enough the importance of the act of going to the polls and accepting the responsibility for a ballot.  It's really easy to get discouraged and think that your vote doesn't make a difference.   Instead, it makes all the difference in the world.

At the local level, your vote directly corresponds to community leadership, law enforcement, your personal budget, mine safety, land use, or the financial provision for the needs of your community.  By voting in a state or national election, you are reminding the people entrusted with power in this country that this is a representative democracy.  That means that you pick a person to represent your interests in the direction taken by the country.  You are reminding your elected officials that people are paying attention to what they are doing.  Sure, maybe that's idealistic in the face of all the money sloshing around in the political system, but I have to believe that the fact that they are elected by people still matters and the more people that vote, the more they are made mindful of that.  Maybe you are withholding your vote as a protest.  By staying home, you are counted as part of the group of people with any number of excuses for why they didn't vote.  Go to the polls, get your ballot and turn it in blank if you need to make the point that you are abstaining.

More importantly to me, by exercising my right to vote, I am stepping up and honoring the struggle, sometimes to the death, of people who came before me and worked to secure this right.  In a way, voting is an act of rebellion.  Someone, somewhere has a vested interest in me staying home.  Even the act of attempting to vote and being denied is crucial to point out places where we are failing people in our country.  Vote because it denies victory to those who have refused access to the polls based on skin color, gender, literacy, language, religion, length of residency, wealth, age, physical ability, income or property ownership.  I vote because there are people who have no ability to have any sort of self-determination and I'm grateful for what I have.  I do not take it for granted.

To me, it doesn't matter what political affiliation you have or who you are going to vote for.  Chances are a lot of people are going to vote opposite of my choices, including people in my own household.  Vote anyway.  Plus, maybe you'll get a really cool sticker.

Tags: elections, just life
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