Why Should I Vote?
In 1792, Election Day was set for the Tuesday following the first Monday in November. November was selected because the harvest was over and winter had not yet begun. Tuesday was chosen because, if Monday had been chosen, some might have had to travel on Sunday, the Sabbath.
“He cast his vote, distrusting all the elected — but not the law.” So said Karl Shapiro.
“I don’t trust any of the candidates. Therefore, I’m not going to vote.” I hear a lot of people saying this, and it’s true. We all have good reason for not trusting the people who hold public office, as well as those who want to hold public office. The headlines are filled with stories of politicians who have lied and cheated, who have committed immoral acts, who have made secret deals and misused public funds for their own gain. At the same time, many politicians are honest, hard-working people. They study the issues and work hard to make laws that will benefit everyone. Most have never acted immorally, have never made secret deals or misused public funds.
I might not trust the politicians, but that does not excuse me from voting. I am a citizen of the United States; as a citizen, I too have a responsibility for studying the issues and for making tough decisions based on what I know. Therefore, I will
cast my vote on Election Day.
O. Henry said, “A straw vote only shows which way the hot air is blowing!”
We are besieged by political surveys and opinion polls. I don’t trust polls and surveys much more than I trust politicians and pollsters. A survey will inform me on how some people feel at this moment. A poll will indicate how people would vote if the election were held today. This does not help me much. I’m still the one person who must study the issues. I’m the one person who asks the hard questions of the candidates. I’m still the one who has to make the tough decisions. I’m the one person who must step into the polling booth and cast my vote, which I will do.
“Every voter … exercises a public trust.” So said Grover Cleveland.
I am a citizen of the United States. As long as I accept the privileges of being a citizen, I must also accept the responsibilities of being a citizen. Citizenship grants me the privilege of freedom of speech, freedom to assemble when and where I choose, freedom to worship the God of my choice, freedom to get an education, freedom to hold a job, and freedom to vote for the candidate of my choice without fear of reprisal.
Freedom evaporates unless it is used by the citizen. Unless I exercise my freedom to speak up and speak out on the issues, I will lose my freedom of speech. Unless I learn to work together with other concerned citizens, I will lose more of my rights. Unless I exercise my freedom to work and to worship, I will lose both. Unless I get out and vote, I will give away the rights and freedoms I have as a citizen.
Our nation will become what we, the people, vote it become. Politicians will become accountable and responsible officials if we, the people, vote our opinions and beliefs. We, the people, have the opportunity in the voting booth to shape the future of our country.
Why should I vote? I will vote because I’m a citizen of this United States. I have the right to vote, and I will vote come Election Day.