This I Believe: I believe in voting.
This past Election Day as I drove to the local neighborhood meeting hall to cast my vote I couldn’t help but feel less than thrilled with how “unglamorous” the whole process was. There weren’t scores of reporters and photographers outside. There weren’t even very many signs or anyone waiting in line, just an older lady taking my registration card, verifying my name and yawning largely. I have to admit, I was a tad disappointed. I expected at least to hear the Star Spangled Banner playing as I got out of my car and triumphantly marched through the polling doors and into democracy. But after the process ended and just as I peeled back the thin plastic of my “I voted” sticker and placed it proudly on my shirt, the surge of patriotic pride hit.
I know that a lot of people have different excuses for not voting…”no time,” “don’t know enough about the candidates,” etc. But isn’t this just really an excuse for “it’s not glamorous enough?” People call in to vote for all kinds of things these days…American Idol, sporting events, Dancing with the Stars for goodness sakes!! Is going to the polls just too much work for the average American? Maybe if it were more the kind of thing you couldn’t wait to talk about at work the next day more people would do it. Maybe they should make voting a little more glamorous. Throw in some scantily clad models holding cases of money or something.
I don’t pretend that I know everything about all the candidates. I don’t pretend to be an expert on all the political issues pressing the country. But there’s a certain amount of ownership that comes with deciding to step up to the plate, go a tiny bit out of your way and say “Here I am. I care about what’s happening in the world and I’m doing something about it.” And I admit, there are many times I just feel defeated. The issues happening here at home and all around the world seem so large, and out of our control. What difference does one vote make? What difference does $20 a month make?
This election has given the perfect answer to that question. It makes a difference. I want to help make a difference. I want the world to be better where it can be. Be safer where it can. I want my government to reflect the views of the country as a whole, not just the views of the 40% of people who go through the trouble to vote. It feels sometimes that we are trudging through mud. Dragging our feet through red tape, politics and formalities…and I think most of the time we are. But those rare, sterile moments when truth and democracy shine through all the crap and actually make it out into everyday life…those are the moments worth fighting for and waiting for and voting for. Those are the moments that change the world. And I want in on them.
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