For anyone seeking to effect change or is desirous of having a say in our democracy, voting is your obligation. Casting a ballot for your choice of candidates in local, state, and federal government is your voice. Despite what anyone says, every vote matters and every vote counts. Were it not so, qualified candidates wouldn’t invest so much time, energy, and effort jockeying for your vote. Your vote is your constitutional right and declaration of your choices to govern and whether or how you’d like tax dollars to be allocated.
As an African-American, I understand the gravity of possessing this precious right to vote. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. It was created to protect and enforce the 14th and 15th Amendments of the United States Constitution. It was enacted in response to the blatant voter suppression in the 1960s by state and local governments as well as law enforcement. The 14th and 15th Amendments were created to ensure equality for the recently emancipated slaves.
It galls and saddens me to hear younger generations proudly boast about not voting because “it doesn’t matter or won’t do any good because the system’s already somehow rigged”. Securing this precious and sacred right did not come to be without terrible, painful, and sometimes fatal costs. Great people of all races and creeds, and believers of equality and justice, paid for the right to vote with their blood. Countless others even made the ultimate sacrifice by paying with their lives. Whether it was from a bullet, blade, high pressure water hose, or attack dog, good people willingly gave their lives for this precious right.
I don’t believe it’s too much to ask one to simply pay it forward by spending a few minutes of their time at the polls on election day. One’s political beliefs and political party affiliations should not matter–the most important thing is ensuring you’re registered, knowing your polling location, showing up, and casting your vote. Sadly enough, the very people who complain about the state of our government are usually the ones who choose not to vote. So let your voice be loudly heard by honoring all those who came before us and labored, bled, and died for us all to perform our civic duty.
Let your voice be heard by exercising your right to vote!