Monday, October 13, 2008

Never Underestimate the Power of the Individual

Conversations lately have identified a lot of confusion, ambivalence and ennui in the American public regarding the November 4 General Election.

In English: either you don't know who you're going to vote for, you think neither party will provide what the country needs or you don't care who wins because it will make no difference in your life.

That is where you are wrong.

First of all, we think there are only U.S. Presidential candidates on the ballot. (Vice presidents are part of the ticket and are not elected separately. Probably a good idea: what if the top two winners weren't of the same party? Could be interesting, could be disastrous.) Contact your local General Registrar and see who and what all is on the ballot. In my area, there are elections for U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. These people are equally important. If you don't think so, find out what those two branches of the legislative government do, then reassess this opinion.

Get educated: visit the League of Women Voters, a non-partisan resource for election and candidate information.

Now, for those who think their vote is not important: remember way back in the new aught? The 2000 presidential campaign was so close there were arguments over what was a hanging chad (which still sounds dirty). If nothing else, that very close election proved a very important point in our lifetime: individual votes matter.

What do you think designates the Electoral College votes? Yep, my vote. And yours.

A special note to my sisters: remember, women have had the vote in the United States for only a few generations. Many of us have grandmothers who were not allowed to vote. Women were imprisoned for attempting to participate in the electoral process. Don't ever take this privilege for granted.

Okay, so you don't like either of the main party candidates. Well, have you checked your ballot? There are more than two names on the ballot for the U.S. presidential race. If you don't like either of the major party candidates, look to see who else is on your ballot and see if you like any of them — then vote accordingly. There also is this really cool thing called the "write-in" — that lets you write in a name if you think someone not on the ballot deserves to be there. Use these tools wisely: Mickey is fictional, as is Rambo.

Finally, those who choose to not vote: shame on you. I won't use the "people in China would like the chance to vote in a democratic election" line because it didn't work when your mom wanted you to finish the gummy okra on your plate. People are starving for freedom and control of their government, and you throw away those very things.

If you don't vote, I don't want to hear it.

If you do vote, thank you.

No comments: