To Vote or Not to Vote…Here are the Options

Tuesday is Election Day across this nation. A day when millions of people will go to their polling places and cast their vote for the candidates of their choice, exercising a right we are assured of in a free country. To vote for the people we want to represent us in our houses of government.

I have not missed voting in a state or national election since I was old enough to vote, some 45+ years ago. I have voted for winning candidates as well as losing candidates. I have voted Republican, Democrat, and third party. I have been overjoyed at some election results, and deeply disappointed by others. I have voted the same way as friends and family, and I have voted the exact opposite, where my vote canceled theirs.

In my younger days I even volunteered on a few political campaigns. I made phone calls and passed out literature. Right now that feels like a lifetime ago.

But I was proud to be able to cast my vote, to exercise my constitutional right. Far too many citizens of other countries do not have that right. Our forefathers fought for that right, many of them dying for that right. Voting is my constitutional right; it’s a privilege. And to me, it’s my duty as a U.S. citizen.

Sadly, millions of people will NOT go and vote on Election Day, for a variety of reasons. They say their vote doesn’t count. That’s just not true. Every vote counts. Elections have been won by one or two votes as well as by hundreds or thousands. EVERY vote counts. Every vote is important.

Many of these non-voters say it’s not important. It doesn’t impact their lives at all. They obviously don’t realize that the individuals who win elections are the ones who make the laws that dictate so many things in our life. Taxes. Health insurance. Gun laws and gun control. Immigration. Housing. Discrimination. Human rights. Keeping our country and its citizens safe. And let me add that word TAXES one more time…

Other non-voters, as well as voters, are simply tired of and disgusted by the rhetoric of the majority of the current political ads in which both parties do nothing but spew forth angry and accusatory statements about their opponents, most of which cannot possibly be true, and never bother to say a word about what they stand for and what they would try to do if elected. I refuse to vote for any candidate that does that, because all it tells me is that they are running on nothing but their own dislike of the other candidate and have no desire to really take a stand on anything.

I may be wrong, but that is how I feel, and I daresay many others feel that way as well. And before you start accusing me of partisanship, both sides are equally guilty. Whatever happened to running on issues instead of a smear campaign against an opponent? No wonder potential voters are turned off and refuse to cast a ballot. I’m turned off as well, but I WILL vote, but not for candidates who use those tactics. Whether the candidate I vote for wins or not.

This election, as with all elections, is important. It affects not only national government, but state governments and local jurisdictions as well. I have heard many people say they only vote for national issues; how foolish a statement that is, because local governments can impact your daily existence much more than the national issues. It’s all important.

If you don’t vote, you have no right to criticize or complain about what our government is doing. You have no right to complain about who’s in which office if you didn’t voice your opinion by voting. Don’t complain about high taxes or other issues you don’t agree with if you don’t vote; those of us who do vote will do it for you, and if we don’t like it, we will vote in new people, and it would be nice if you helped us do that. Otherwise, you still will have no right to complain.

I very rarely tell anyone about my political views, which have certainly changed over the years. It’s my business. And I am not going to try to convince people to vote my way, or chastise them when I find out they didn’t. That’s their business as well. At least they voted! Whether I agree with their choice or not.
This is your country as well as mine. We each have an equal say in what happens, BUT only if we all vote.

I vote. I hope you will, too. Your country, as well as future generations, including your grandchildren and mine, are counting on you.

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