I didn’t even have to choose the subject today. The day elected (get it?) the topic. I am grateful for the fact that I live in a country where I have the ability and the right to vote for my leaders. As long as I am not convicted of a felony, I can vote in every election until I die.
The amazing thing about this is not just that I can vote. There are lots of countries around the world where voting takes place. What is so astonishing and unique about an American’s voting rights are many:
- My right to vote is not based on race, gender, religion or socioeconomic status
- I can vote without fear of retaliation against me or my family
- I can vote at polls that aren’t surrounded by soldiers with automatic weapons
- I can vote knowing that the “winner” is not a forgone conclusion and my vote is meaningless; i.e., my vote counts
- I can vote in complete anonymity
- I vote on a predetermined schedule (every 2 to 4 years), not every time there is a coup
- I can belong to a political party but still vote for the other party’s candidate
And when it’s all said and done, I can complain, in the office, in a blog, in a letter to the editor of my local paper, at a city council meeting, wherever, that I am not happy with my leaders. Even if I voted for them.
When I was growing up Election Day was a very big deal. I remember the 1952 election. Really. The Bear side of the family was rabid republican. The race was. between Dwight Eisenhower and Adeli Stevens. The night of the election I remember the house being packed with family and neighbors who got together to await the results. In my child’s mind I remember staying up all night. Eisenhower won. Everyone was happy and relieved. I remember really being for Eisenhower, though, at age 5 I am sure I had no clue what being a democrat or being a republican meant. However, growing up in the household I grew up in made me know voting was something important regardless of how one votes.