Don’t waste your vote

Published 10:41 pm Monday, November 3, 2008

Well, folks, today is the big day.

Today is Election Day. If you don’t know that by now, you clearly don’t own a television or a radio, you don’t subscribe to a newspaper, you don’t log onto the Internet, you don’t leave your house, you don’t look out the window and you don’t answer your door or telephone.

In other words, you don’t exist and therefore don’t have the right to vote anyway.

Email newsletter signup

But, since you do exist, you’ve likely seen the mud-slinging on television, the opponent-bashing on the radio, and the online polls on Web sites. You’ve seen signs for dozens of candidates on front lawns and been hounded by people knocking on your door. You can’t even go grocery shopping and come back outside without a political advertisement flapping under your windshield wiper.

Many times in the past month or so, I’ve said that I wish the election would just hurry up and be over with. However, that sentiment doesn’t express how blessed we all are to live in a country where we actually have elections and the right to vote.

So many people in the world don’t get to vote. Although we may see the democratic process and our politicians as inherently flawed, in no way do our problems compare to the problems facing dictatorships around the world.

Yes, our election process has problems. Many say the Electoral College system of electing a president is antiquated. Voter registrars and electoral boards are overworked, and that may cause some people to be unintentionally disenfranchised.

Yes, many politicians are corrupt. Hardly a month goes by that we don’t hear of a new scandal involving some elected official somewhere.

However, how would we feel if we didn’t get a voice at all? What if you woke up this morning and a voice on the radio announced that the president had already been picked, without any sort of election? What if Congress, the Virginia General Assembly, City Council and School Board were chosen without your input?

Would you be angry?

Consider that question before you stay home today. Many citizens of other countries would brave more than cold weather and long lines to cast a vote in any election.

Don’t waste the opportunity.