This I Believe

Kevin - New Britain, Connecticut
Entered on October 22, 2006

It’s all too easy to think of reasons to not vote on Election Day.

“I am only one person and neither my vote nor my opinion has any influence whatsoever. So I’m just going to stay home. What about my state or county voting overwhelmingly Democrat and I am a Republican or vice versa? Then my vote won’t make much of a difference. So I’m just going to stay home and watch TV. Furthermore, we have a two party system in this country – Democrats and Republicans. What if I don’t support either party? Any third party candidates don’t stand a chance of winning. So I’m just going to stay home as a way of protesting and rebelling against the system. Have you given consideration to how busy of a person I am? I simply don’t have time to go to the ballot box to cast my vote. Plus I can care less about politics because I really don’t believe it affects me. All of the constant negative campaign ads on television and the mudslinging between candidates don’t give me any reasons to vote either. Politicians are all corrupted anyways. They court me for my vote but once they are elected, they cater to the interest of their biggest campaign donors. So I’m just going to stay home and not vote on Election Day.”

Since 2004, I have voted every election year. It was my first time casting the ballot for a Presidential election since turning 18 two years before. I’ve voted in 2005 for the local elections and I plan on voting this year as well and the year after and so on. What makes America great is that as citizens, we have the right to vote. Some people choose to exercise that right and many choose to stay home. For me, America is also great because it is the land of opportunity. In this regards, education is an important factor for those who want to realize the American dream. I care about our public schools and I vote to make them better. In this country, we are advanced in medicine and technology. I care about the well being of our citizens and I vote to make healthcare affordable for everyone. Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., I grew up in a melting pot and crossed paths with people from all over the world. I care about immigration rights and I vote for the American dream. I choose to exercise my right to vote because I believe there are issues that affect all of us.

While I care about education, healthcare, and immigration rights, there may be other issues that are important to you. There may be different reasons why you believe America is great. I believe your vote matters because OUR vote matters. If your state or county votes overwhelmingly Democrat or Republican and you don’t agree with the dominant party, your vote will be the first step towards change. As Americans, we have the right to vote or not vote. If we do not exercise this right, our elected officials will only answer to the interest of those who did vote. Politicians would not pay attention to the issues that you and I care about. If I do not support either the Democrats or Republicans, I will still go out to vote instead of staying home. I accomplish nothing by sitting on my couch but I make a much stronger statement when I vote for a candidate I believe in, even if he/she is not affiliated with the major parties. No matter how busy of a person I am, I will always stop to read the news for current events and issues. I will make time on Election Day to go to the polls and cast my vote because the half an hour I take out that day will affect my life for the next 2, 4 or even 6 years. Going to the polls on Election Day keeps politicians from being corrupted because they know their constituents are watching, listening, and expect issues to be addressed. Voting is important because it creates accountability of our leaders to us and that is what makes America great. It is what distinguishes democracy from any other political systems such as fascism or a monarchy. On Election Day, I encourage you to go out and vote for what you believe in. This I believe.