Tomorrow is election day. If you live in the United States this probably is not a surprise to you. No doubt even those who live under rocks will be well aware of it- all of the political campaigns will have surely found a way to get a flyer to you somehow. At this point I am relatively certain that however they might lean politically, every single American has got to be sick of the politics. This is the culmination of more than a year's worth of campaigning, mud-slinging, primaries, caucuses, debates, interviews and -don't doubt it- spin.
We, as Americans, are weary. We've seen it all. We've heard it all. If there is a single undecided voter left in this country today, I would be shocked. Seriously. At this point, I think it is more than clear that the country is wildly divided, and when you draw the line, or in most cases, when the line has been drawn for you, its not hard to see which side you fall on. But today, it's not just those elusive, coveted, undecided voters I am concerned about.
It's every voter.
Now, at this point, if you aren't registered to vote I imagine its either because you aren't old enough or you have such a sincere amount of voter apathy that whatever I say will not make a difference to you. You can read on if you like, but feel free to skip out here. Who I want to speak to today is every registered voter who comes across my blog. I want your attention, for just a moment.
I need you to go vote tomorrow.
No- you need you to go vote tomorrow.
This election, in my mind, is hugely important. I see, for the first time in my lifetime, a country that is wildly divided. We are standing at a crossroad. Whatever happens tomorrow, make no mistake- things are changing. Personally, I don't care for divisive politics. I hate that the right has moved further right with the assistance of the Tea Party. I hate that in response, the left has moved further left. I don't like this all or nothing choice we are being forced to make. Unfortunately, the line has been drawn in the sand. We have to choose where we're going to go. And this year, like many other years, there's not as much choice as we would like. But that doesn't mean we have no choice.
I've heard this election referred to as many things. Some see it as a referendum on President Obama. Some see it as a chance to "reclaim America". Some people think this is our chance to protect our moral ideals. Some see it as a way to protect freedom. I've been told that when we step into the voting booth tomorrow we are not choosing who we like, but who we hate less. We are not selecting a leader we feel our country can't live without- we are choosing the leader we can live with. I've even had people who are not voting tell me they aren't because they feel like their is no choice at all, no difference between the two men who are running for our nation's highest office. I couldn't agree less.
Regardless of your politics, tomorrow you are making a choice. You are choosing the course of human rights in this country. You are making a decision about a woman's right to choose. You are deciding how you think the finances of this country should be handled. You are making choices about how your brothers, sisters and children and grandchildren will be educated. You are deciding who makes the choice with regards to a person's healthcare. You are the one who is casting the vote to decide what support, if any, our grandparents, parents and even ourselves will receive in the years to come. You are making the decision that says exactly how much a person's religion should effect their government. You are deciding what foreign policy we will take with India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Israel, Russia, China and the UN.
Tomorrow, when you step in to vote you are deciding what taxes you and I pay. You are deciding whether or not you and I will have access to healthcare. You are deciding whether or not my grandmother will be able to afford the medication she needs. You are deciding where and what your children will learn. You are making decisions, not just for yourself, but for every person who is able to vote, unable to vote, or too young to vote. You are making a decision that will effect every single person in the state and country you live in. You are not just voting for you, but for every person you know. The choice you make tomorrow will effect all of us for the rest of our lives. Tomorrow you are voting for the greater good.
That's a lot of responsibility. Fortunately, there is only one way you can fail, and that is by not voting.
There will be many people tomorrow who don't vote because they can't, and I think that is a travesty. There will be people who have no access to cars, or who can't afford the ID required by their state to vote. There will be some who can't get off work. There will be some who wanted to vote but didn't register on time. There will be thousands of people tomorrow who will want to vote, and who can't. You must go vote for them.
There is no doubt in my mind that this election, more than ever, your vote counts. If you don't believe that, you haven't been paying attention. There are at least three states that will have possible recalls because the margin of votes between the two candidates is less than a half a percent. A half a percent! In some cases that is somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 voters. Of all the people in those states, in this country, that is a drop in the bucket of votes. Yet tomorrow, every single voice in every single one of those states will mean something. Every person is Ohio, Florida, and Colorado will walk into a voting booth knowing they might be casting the deciding vote of the election- not just for their state but for the whole United States.
In many states, including the three I just mentioned, there have been election officials that have tried to stop or decrease hours of early voting. They have tried to purge their voter rolls. They have made it harder, in come cases for lower and middle class Americans, nearly impossible to vote. I am heartened to see that in every case there have been people who were willing to make a sacrifice and stand in line for four, five and in some cases in Florida up to nine hours to cast their vote. That is amazing to me, that these people see that their voice, that every voice, counts. It should never be an act of heroism to vote in the US. This year it is. I admire those people. Unfortunately, for every person who is able to take the day off, get a sitter for the kids, or has the good health required to stand in line outside for eight hours to vote, there is a person who can't. Those people are victims to an agenda that is neither mine nor yours, friend. You must go vote for them.
For my friends who don't have the privilege to live in a "battleground state" I urge you to go vote anyway. Every state is a battleground. Every one of them. I live in a Red State. I am a democrat. You better bet that every election for me is a battle. It is a chance for me to tell my conservative representatives that I am still here, and that they are still accountable to me and every other liberal that is not a part of their voter base. Because they are still making choices for me. If every single liberal I know who has given up the fight would rally and head to the polls, things could change. We could make our voices heard. We could become a "battleground" state. It is the fear and complacency of my generation that causes me the most pain.
I am tired of being told that my voice doesn't matter. I don't want to hear that the voice of my friends and family don't matter. I don't want to be told that I cannot possibly make a difference on my own. Let me tell you something- tomorrow I get one vote. Tomorrow Mitt Romney and President Obama get one vote. The richest man in America gets one vote. The poorest Hispanic mother gets one vote. We all get one. No more. My vote is equally precious as the vote of a person of greater or lesser standing than my. My vote is my chance to say that despite the odds, despite the opinions of others, my voice has just as much a right to be heard as anyone else's. I refuse to fall victim to the popular ideology that one vote and one person cannot make a difference. I refuse to fall into someone else's agenda by not following my own.
I don't care what your views are. Maybe we have similar ideas. Maybe they are wildly different. Either way, tomorrow, your voice is important to me too. It should be important to you. Your vote, no matter who you cast it for, is an act of patriotism. It is an act of pride. It is an act of defiance. Tomorrow, you choosing to vote is your way of saying that you will not quietly let others make decisions for you. You are demanding to be heard. You are telling the world that you still believe that you live in a country where every person matters, where every thought deserves to be considered, where reason and rationality and the good of mankind can still be thought of. You are voting to tell others that greed and scandal and spin do not matter as much as the ideas and opinions you have. The parties in the US determine their platforms based on what they think you want to hear. Go out tomorrow and tell them exactly what you want from your country. The more we speak, the more they must listen.
I ask you, I charge you, to go do your duty tomorrow. The course of my life, the course of your life and the course of the life of every single American depends on it. Please don't let me down.