Why I Have To Vote

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I have to vote tomorrow.

Check out my tagline, above.

How can I save the earth or promote world peace or  raise productive citizens if I’m not even willing to take a few minutes out of my day and cast my ballot?

For the first time in my life I’m absolutely dreading it.

I’ve seen headlines indicating that upwards of 90 million Americans, who usually vote, are abstaining this time around because they simply feel like there is no point.

Oh, I get it.  I am almost number 90 million and one.

I don’t really like the Republican or the Democrat candidates.  They each have a few things going for them, in my opinion.  They both have several strikes against them.  It doesn’t seem like either of them really say much at all, except a bunch of blah-blah same-old rhetoric that doesn’t mean anything in the real world.

There are some “third party” candidates that actually have some amazing experience and very insightful policy ideas but… let’s face it… the election, at least this year, is a two party fight.

Would voting for another party make a statement that I think the media needs to include these men and women in the general discussion so that they have a reasonable chance of winning?  Or would it just be throwing away my vote, guaranteeing one less vote for the candidate who seems least awful to me?

If the last few elections have taught us anything it’s that the one vote can make a big difference.

But how terrible to give support to someone just because they are “less awful!”

*sigh*

I guess that means that, with only hours left to go I’m still one of the “undecided.”

It all makes me want to stick my head in the sand and let the cards fall where they will.  I mean – if they’re all just smarmy politicians – what does it matter anyway?!

Right?

No!

It matters!!!

My voice matters!

When you vote you are not just saying, “I want this person to be president.”

You are saying, “I care about which direction our country is going.”

You are saying, “It matters to me that our social policies are fair and just.”

You are saying, “I think it’s important that we interact with the rest of the world appropriately.”

You are saying, “I am watching, alert and aware of what is going on in Washington.”

You are saying, “I am proud to be a part of this free country.”

Go, cast your vote for president.

AND….

we must not forget that this is not just a presidential election.

The president, alone, is fairly powerless.  (I know… executive order and all that… I’m talking in big, sweeping, broad strokes here).

Do you know who is running for congress in your district?  What do they believe in?  What is their stance on defense spending? On education? On personal liberty?

The president may be the one who signs the laws, but congress writes them.  It starts there.  Those elected men and women have massive power, but most Americans can’t even name their representatives.

Go, cast your vote for congress.

AND…

Each state and locality has a multitude of other positions and issues on the ballot.

Where I live, there is everything from village treasurer to state supreme court justice.  There are issues about how much choice should be in the hands of the voters as opposed to the state government.  There are issues about collective bargaining, home health care, “green” energy and more.

Go, cast your vote for local issues and positions.

Don’t just let the cards, “fall where they may.”  Such ambivalence is the beginning of the end for a country that, despite her flaws, is truly one of the best places in the history of the world to live.

I am not thrilled about all of my choices at this election, but I know that I MUST NOT give up my freedom to vote or, one day, I may find that I no longer have a voice at all.  And I would have no one to blame but myself.

I will not be number 90 million and one.  Don’t let it be you, either.

*To find out what’s on the ballot where you live: http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

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