-American author David Foster Wallace
The nation is in the critical home stretch of the 2012 election cycle. It is the sprint to the finish for state and national office seekers. Regardless of where a candidate, or a voter, might stand on a particular issue, one thing is certain. If an individual doesn’t vote, that person’s voice is lost.
Yes, it does seem highly unlikely that one vote, particularly one cast in Vermont, can affect the outcome of a national election. But in some ways that’s not the point. Part of the reason we urge participation in the political process is because to keep a viable democratic society we as citizens need to vote.
Voter participation reaffirms the freedoms, the rights, and responsibilities that we have earned over the 236 years of this country’s existence. Sometimes that responsibility is lost on the average US citizen. Think about it: There are many in this country who take for granted the right to vote, to elect their leaders, yet throughout the world millions are taking to the streets for those same rights: the right to feel empowered, to feel they have some say in the running of their country.
Just look to the Middle East and North Africa and what has happened there in the past 18 months. People-powered movements have effectively changed governments in a number of countries, most notably Tunisia and Egypt. Libya became a full-blown revolution, as has Syria. Unfortunately, their leaders cared more about preserving their own power and self-importance than heeding the will of the people, and much blood has been spilled as a result of that pompous self-importance. As it was with this country two-and-a-half centuries ago, average citizens are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to ensure a voice for future generations.
We may not always agree with the outcomes of people-powered movements or revolutions, but we should always respect their intent. This country, after all, was founded on similar desires: To feel empowered, to have a voice in the running of a country, to feel that our opinion matters.
That’s why every vote matters this election, and every election.