Monday, November 2, 2009

Voting: A Duty, A Privilege

Election season is upon us.  Tomorrow we will go to the polls and cast our vote for the leadership of our great Commonwealth.  I wanted to write today about something I feel very passionately about: voting.  I remember the very first time I was able to vote.  I had recently turned 18 and I got to vote in the presidential election of 2004.  I was so excited.  I had to vote absentee because I was a first-year at UVA at the time.  I remember eagerly watching the news on election night, I was so engaged in it because I had voted, I had helped choose our next President.  It is my hope that my readers are all engaged citizens and vote in every election and this will be preaching to the choir, but I just have to put it out there because I feel so strongly about it.

First, I'll start by saying it is an enormous privilege to live in the United States of America.  We are not a perfect country, but I can't imagine another place I would rather live.  We are so blessed to have the freedoms we have here and are so quick to take them forgranted.  We actually get to go to the polls tomorrow and walk in, free of fear and terrorizing, and tell the government who we want in charge, and then they honor that request.  It's really amazing considering the kinds of governments many other countries have.  Voting is the key to the success of our democracy.  If we do not vote, we forfeit our right to freedom.  It's kind of like the phrase, "what you don't use, you lose."

I've heard a couple excuses for why people don't vote.  The most popular one I've heard is probably, "I'm just not that into politics."  Well, I'm sorry but this is where I get all fired up.  Guess what, this isn't about you being "into" politics.  I'm not "into" politics either.  I detest a lot of things about "politics".  But I love my country and love our freedom and I am willing to sacrifice 1 hour of my day to go vote and be engaged in our government.  I mean, really?  That reasoning is so selfish.  We are losing our sense of patriotic duty.  Our brave men and women serving in Afghanistan and Iraq sacrifice their lives for our country in defense of our freedom and we complain about taking an hour to vote.  We need a little more "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" around here.

When my dad decided to run for Congress part of me thought, "Will it even make a difference?" "Can ONE person really change anything?".  And then I realized I was losing hope.   I then thought to myself, "What on earth will happen when good, honest men and women chose NOT to run because of the brokeness of Washington?  We cannot give up.  We have to keep trying and good men and women have to keep running for office!  It is important!"

I'm really just advocating that you go out and vote tomorrow.  This isn't about voting Republican or Democrat, this is about doing your civic duty and just plain voting.  You cannot complain or rejoice about our country's struggles and victories if you do not vote.  It's really like saying you don't care to be a citizen here.  With great freedom comes great responsibility.  Please, please, please go out and vote tomorrow because I believe it is both a duty and a great privilege to participate in our government in this way, one that many people in the world would give anything to enjoy.


Gillian said...

You are preaching to the choir here. :) I'm the girl who used to give my friends wake up calls at 6am so they would have time to vote before they left for work. I like the phrase " If we do not vote, we forfeit our right to freedom" and I just might have to use it tomorrow.

Jaime said...

Campbell crazies is on your voting band wagon siesta! We voted and were victorious! :)