I will vote tomorrow.
Yes, I know I could have cast my ballot early. I might have avoided a line, or stood in line in better weather. My schedule tomorrow is a busy one, but I will make the time.
I do not take voting lightly.
Somehow, I feel that the effort it takes to get myself to my designated polling place on the designated day is a valuable exercise in citizenship. It’s a symbol of the power that has been entrusted to me; the gift that allows me to make choices about issues that are important to me and the type of government that I endorse.
Voting as an act of faith
What gets me to the polling place is a conviction that voting is my right as a citizen, but that freedom comes only with a sense of responsibility. Our system of government, however, is not without some hardships, both intellectual and physical. I want to remember that past generations fought for the right to vote, won victories on the battlefields of war, in the halls of congress and in schools and living rooms all across the country. We still face some of those challenges today.
I have faith in a future that will unwind according to the legitimate choices of a well-intentioned public, and in the thought that millions come together on a single day to make their choices known.
That faith may have been shaken lately, but it has not died.
Somehow, the idea of a voting season that stretches out for days and weeks in advance diminishes that notion. One of my favorite movie lines has always been, “America isn’t easy; America is advanced citizenship.”
That translates, in my mind at least, to going to the polls on Election Day, not at another time that might be more convenient.
The Promise of Voting
I recently read the thoughts of “100 Women on 100 Years of Voting” as published in The Guardian. This year marks the centenary of the vote for British women, among other anniversaries, notably the end of World War I.
I will vote tomorrow with memories of their words echoing in my head. I will also be thinking of the young people I recently met in Cuba, longing for the day when they will have a chance to vote for meaningful change in their country.
I will also remember that the right to vote is interpreted very differently across the globe. In many places the vote has not yet been extended to all citizens; in other nations, voting is mandatory. In still others that are called democracies, the requirements for meaningful elections are not in place.
No, I do not take voting lightly.
If you haven’t yet voted, please join me tomorrow at the polls. I trust it will be a meaningful experience. And then maybe we can all get to work to solve some of the problems that we all agree exist in our country. The day has arrived.