Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Franchise

Many people who are far more eloquent than I have already weighed in on this topic.  I wish I had some of their abilities.  But I’m just me.  So I’m going to talk about me.

I vote.  I vote because it is my right as a citizen of this country.  I vote because I recognize that it is my responsibility as a member of a democracy.  I vote because it’s the easiest way to tell the government that I still give a shit about what they do and will hold them accountable for it.

Some of those eloquent people I mentioned earlier have already spoken about the fact that voting is a responsibility.  And I recognize that if I expect to enjoy the benefits of a democracy that takes my voice into account then I have to participate in that government.

You wouldn’t go to a town hall meeting and complain about the fact that there’s no traffic light in that dangerous intersection if you didn’t live, pay taxes and participate in the activities of that town.  And you cannot complain about the policies of government that affect your life if you do not participate in that government.  It’s that simple.

And on a broader note, I will add that a majority of the things we’re proud of in this country- free speech, the ability to live the lifestyle that you choose, shared identify- are all based in democracy.  Voting is the first amendment.  Voting is patriotism.  Voting is being an American.  Voting is what separates us from so many people in other countries that we feel so much empathy for.  And those people have and will continue to fight wars, raise civil protest and kill for that right that is given freely to us.

So go vote if you haven’t, celebrate if you have and shut the hell up if you’re not going to.  Because if you don’t accept the responsibility of participating in this government than you have absolutely no right to state your opinion about what it does.

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