The Sunday Salon: GO VOTE!

by Rachel Baker on November 3, 2008

Your Vote CountsThe end of Halloween signals the last few days of the election cycle here in America.  As we sneak a piece of chocolate from the kids’ Halloween stash, we put the final touches on our individual arguments for who we are going to vote into office.  If we haven’t already decided, we firm up our decisions and head to the polls.  Or at least we should be.

I was given an idea by a pretty awesome kid I hung out with this past weekend to talk about the fact that both of the Presidential candidates have written books.  Well, I’ll give you a list of the books they wrote, but I think there may be something a bit more important to talk about in regards to this election.  This is not going to be a political rant, but instead, it will be a ‘we have a responsibility here in the US’ plea.  I’m not going to talk about the politics of either candidate, and I’m not going to talk about voter fraud or anything like that.

We live in a democracy.  We are afforded some pretty incredible rights that our fellow human beings around the world are not entitled to.  In 1776, Thomas Jefferson laid out those rights:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

The line I want to focus on for a second is this:

…that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

We all know our current President is on his way out.  Technically, you could sit back and not vote and government will change.  That is a truth.  However, you have a right and responsibility to go out and vote for which change you think is going to be better for this country.  Only you can make this decision.  Which man will allow you the unalienable Rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of your Happiness?

With Rights come Responsibility. We, as Americans, have a RESPONSIBILITY to Rights that are being threatened with long voter lines. I want you to remember this as hour three of standing in line begins to creep up on you tomorrow: We have a RESPONSIBILITY to vote.  It is our ‘duty…to provide new guards for our future security.’  It is YOUR duty to stand in those long lines and pick your next President.

I know the arguments – I can’t stand in a line for three or four hours because I can’t be out of work that long; or If I don’t work those hours, I lose that money from my paycheck; or I really don’t have the physical ability to stand in line for that many hours.

I understand, I really do. And its probably easy for me to say this, because I work at home, but this election is too important on a great many levels to not stand in line for several hours and vote.  And here’s an additional thought:  If you have a folding chair – you know, the nice comfy ones, you take to bbq’s and/or camping, bring it along for the person who is not able to stand for hours on end, but wants his/her vote to be counted.  If you are a manager or own a company with employees – it is your RESPONSIBILITY to allow those employees all the time in the world to go vote, without repercussions.  Make it work!  You have that ability, and you have a duty to your country.  Without actions to ensure people are given the ability to do what it takes to vote, you are denying your employees the RIGHT to VOTE – “to alter the government, to institute new Government”, and their ability to “organize its powers in such form, as to likely affect their Safety and Happiness.”

Yes, lines are long!  Yes, maybe the weather isn’t optimal.  But People, WHEN WE VOTE, we are affecting change.  This particular election, no matter who wins, is historic!  You have the ability to be a part of either putting an African-American in the Oval Office or putting a woman in the Vice Presidency.  Be a part of this historic election.

Both candidates are promising change.  It is within YOUR rights to vote for which change is better for you and the country.

If you haven’t early voted, Get up early, go stand in line, and be counted! If you haven’t mailed in your absentee ballot, go drop it off, and be counted!  Give your employees adequate time to vote and do your part to ensure that every person in the United States eligible to vote has the ability to make their voice heard.

After you’ve done this, you have another duty to your fellow man – it is your RESPONSIBILITY to demand that your congresspeople fight to change the way we vote in this country.  The long lines and inconveniences should NEVER happen again.  We live in a technologically advanced country – there is no excuse for this loss of time and money (and if you own a business, you are going to loss some production tomorrow – if you plan on doing the right thing for your people).  There’s just no excuse for this!  Demand change in the voting process.  Demand to be heard by your elected officials.  This is YOUR RIGHT!

I’m going to close with this plea – Please exercise your rights.  Please take the responsibility that comes with these rights seriously and Please Go Vote.

(end of rant)

As mentioned above, Here is a small list of the books written by both Presidential Candidates.  I recognize its a little late to use these books as a way to help you make your decisions.  I provide this grouping so you are able to read about the new President, whomever it may be.

Barack Obama
Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama’s Plan to Renew America’s Promise

John McCain
Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir
Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life
Worth the Fighting for: A Memoir

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