I really do get it. Perhaps now, more than ever before in history, it seems like your vote may make no difference. Maybe you’ve witnessed and researched just one too many instances of corruption and greed and it’s left you with a feeling of real apathy on election day. I really can understand that.
But, I still think it’s worth urging you to get out there and vote this evening. You’ve still got time left. Even if the little Warner Bros. devil on your left shoulder is telling you one vote can’t really make a difference, go for it anyway. Though, in this country, your right to remain apathetic and not vote is certainly protected, let me give you 3 good reasons why I hope you’ll bestir yourself and get to your polling place.
1) Do it for African Americans
Had American citizens lacked the right to vote back in the mid-20th century, they would have been powerless to elect the senators, representatives and President who would finally wipe the scourge of segregation of our map.
2) Do it for the First Americans
Our own brothers and sisters have been the victims of genocide and apartheid in this land. American Indians are living in the greatest poverty, with the shortest life expectancy, of any ‘group’ in this country. If apathy were to sweep the nation and we simply lost interest in our power to vote, how could our Native American neighbors ever hope to see people come to office who would at last recognize their rights, their disregarded treaties and their soverignity?
3) Do it for women
Just a century ago, ladies took to the streets to fight for the right to be counted as eligible voters. They risked public scorn and arrest and gave up their personal time to achieve recognition of their equality. Don’t forget what these brave women did to secure the right to vote that all American women enjoy today.
Even if none of the issues being voted on in 2008 have a deep personal meaning to you, even if none of the candidates for office perfectly match your ideals, it is only by refusing to let apathy take root that we can protect the right to vote for groups in the future to whom this right has been denied in the past. Shall we really let this government, with its long history of misdeeds against various vulnerable groups, run itself without input from its citizens? Maybe nothing big seems to hang in the balance for you in your personal life this election day, but maybe next time around it will, and voting today protects the rights of you and all your fellows to vote tomorrow.
To each his own, of course, but I hope you’ll think about Martin Luther King Jr. today, and women’s suffrage and the little Sioux children playing on a reservation somewhere in the Dakotas, and you’ll see that protecting all of these precious treasures of Americanism may just lie in your hands and in your vote.