Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting Thoughts

I've just come back from casting my vote for President. This is not a political forum, so don't look for clues as to who I voted for. This post is just about my thoughts on the voting process.
I believe in voting. Whether you have issues with the candidates, think the electoral process is antiquated (agreed), use the excuse that you don't have time, or the oldest excuse - my one vote doesn't matter (wrong) - don't be fooled into thinking you can continue to live in a democracy and enjoy its privileges without taking on its responsibilities as well.
My late father, whose opinion I always respected (even when I didn't agree with him) used to silence political whiners by saying, "Do you vote?" If they answered in the negative, he would reply, "Then you don't get to complain". That is an opinion I share.
Everyone's vote is important. Especially now, when so many issues are being decided that will impact each and every one of us, as well as our children and their children. It is also important that we vote intelligently, not emotionally. Americans should invest the time to study the issues and to know how the candidates stand on those issues.
There was an excellent TV series in the 1980's called "The Senator" with the title role played by Hal Holbrook. In an episode about the importance of voting for what you believe in, Holbrook delivered a speech that stays with me still. He was citing a leading figure in the German government during the time of Hitler, and he quoted him: "They came after the Jews, and I was not a Jew so I did not protest. They came after the Catholics, and I was not a Catholic so I did not protest. Then they came after the Trade Unionists, and I was not a Trade Unionist so I did not protest. And then they came after me - and there was no one left to protest."
We should never be so patriotically arrogant to think, "it can't happen in America". If enough people neglect their civic duty to vote, anything is possible.
Walking away from that polling place this morning, I felt proud - and lucky. I knew that the time I had just spent would figure in the outcome of the presidential election. And I knew my dad would approve, too.

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