As a child, I loved going to the voting booth with my dad –
back when there were levers to pull for candidates. When I reached voting age, I practically skipped
to the polls to cast my ballot and wore my “I Voted” sticker with pride all day. This cycle, I am genuinely worried I may be
sick on my way to or from my polling place, but I will still vote.
America spoke. These
are our nominated party candidates. To
not vote is squandering a privilege others long to hold. To not vote is a vote: a vote in support of
everything a person opposes because he did nothing to change the outcome.
Although many people, myself included, are disheartened by
the top of the ticket selections, we must still show up on November 8.
Votes matter. We
cannot assume anything and should not take anything for granted. Nothing is certain until the ballots are
But how to decide when the two front-runners hold the lowest
favorability ratings ever in a presidential cycle? The
recently researched what voters do when they consider every
option bad and found that people tend to vote by rejecting the choices they do
not like, instead of affirmatively choosing the one they dislike the
least. Whatever works for the voter
We are fortunate to live in the United States. Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is
the worst form of government, except for all the others.”
Our nation is the envy of people across the globe who do not
have the right to vote. Voting is a
privilege. It demonstrates a small
attitude of gratitude that says, “I’m grateful to live in such a great country
and I am doing my part.” Reports of low
voter turnout are a sad representation of our nation, regardless of how
frustrated we feel this cycle. Yes, government
can be slow, and yes, elected officials are human and make mistakes, but voting
can bring about change – look at the Tea Party movement or the UK’s Brexit vote
for recent examples (for better or worse).
Sometimes advocating a position means compromise, not
extremes, but it does not mean giving up. Sometimes it means waiting a turn instead of
instant gratification, but we still must try to move the ball forward. And, sometimes voting is not all about us,
but the overall greater good.
Our votes should be cast based on more than who sounds like
us, or who we would like to drink a beer with, or our level of anger. We are electing the leader of the free world. This is a huge responsibility to our family,
friends, and fellow citizens here at home, and to people across the entire
globe – especially those who do not hold the right to vote. Of the candidates, who is best to lead the
nation for the next four years?
Represent us on the global stage?
If we do not like our choices, then let this be a lesson for
us. And let us hope that Washington
officials also learn a lesson and become more action-orientated.
Perhaps in future elections we all could pay more attention
to substance over soundbites. We may live
in a 24-hour news cycle world, but maybe instead of saying he or she holds my
attention, or speaks the best, maybe it is time to start examining plans,
policies, and records of achievement.
Maybe we should be listening more to what a candidate is truly saying –
regardless of the candidate’s level of energy when saying it, appearance, or
how well the candidate works the media.
With all that said, let us not lose hope. Our great nation has had good and not-so-good
presidents in the past, and we have endured and prospered because of, and sometimes
even in spite of, that president. Our
nation is bigger and stronger than any one individual.
Additionally, the Founding Fathers were wise in establishing
a system that leaves much of the critical decision making to states and local
governments. Leaders for positions at
the state, county, and local governments are on ballots across the country, and
are worth our consideration, as well as a trip to the polling place. These elected officials are far more likely
to impact our daily lives than the president, so please research them and cast
the ballot accordingly.
Yes, I dread voting for a presidential candidate this
election. However, at the end of the
day, I am grateful to live in an amazing country where I have the right to vote,
and I am appreciative of all the candidates who are willing to run for office
and serve in a (often) thankless job.