People get busy. There’s the kids, the house, the job, the PTA, the spouse, oh yeah, and then sometimes you need to sleep.
A lot of people have been busy early voting for the Nov. 8 presidential election, drawing record numbers. People have had two years of listening to candidates tell them what they think is wrong with our country, and how they’re going to fix it.
Now, it’s our turn. We get to say what we want. Voters get to have their say. It’s our right and our privilege.
I’ve always wondered about people who brag that they don’t vote. They say their ballot won’t make any difference. Things are going to stay the same for them no matter who gets elected because they have a good job, their families are taken care of and they really don’t associate with any political party.
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I turned 18 in 1983 and was eager to vote in the 1984 presidential election, excited to be part of an American ritual, even though I had to cast an absentee ballot since I was away at college. I’ve voted in every presidential election since then, even though my candidates didn’t always win.
Since I’ve had the right to vote for more than 30 years, I can’t imagine what it would be like to NOT have that right, to be denied because of my gender or my race. I wonder what Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King Jr. would say to people who claim they’re too busy to vote.
Until the 15th Amendment was ratified in 1869, black men did not have the right to vote in the United States. Until the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, women did not have the right to vote in the United States. The 24th Amendment stopped poll taxes from keeping people away from the polls, and the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 years old.
People fought for these rights. People faced jail, beatings and even death to fight for the right to vote.
Our nation was founded by people who thought the right to vote was so important that they rebelled against one of the most powerful countries in the world, risking their lives to have a say in who governed them. Remember that No Taxation Without Representation slogan from history class? That wasn’t an idle threat. Our ancestors risked their lives for this, folks, and a lot of them died.
There are so many wonderful parts of being an American. We watch fireworks on the Fourth of July. We support our troops. We pay our taxes. (OK, maybe that’s not fun, but we do it.) We eat turkey for Thanksgiving and barbecue on Memorial Day.
Voting is the basis of democracy. It’s what made our country. It’s what makes us Americans. It’s a privilege, and it’s a duty.
Early voting runs through Friday. Election Day is Nov. 8.
You know what to do.