I am Grateful For...The Right to Vote
During the month of November, I am focused on "gratitude", people, activities, actions, things that I am thankful for.
I think I have voted in virtually every election… at least the ones with candidates for national office. I have voted for candidates in every party… Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Independent. I am involved in the primaries and tend to vote for the person over the party. In certain elections, I have prioritized fiscal issues, and other elections social issues. In recent years I have paid more attention to local elections, because that is where a lot of change takes place, for better or for worse.
I appreciate voting more after having traveled to so many countries...many of these countries have much a much higher percentage of their citizens who vote, while other countries are far more restrictive and dissuade people from voting. We've experience our struggles and growing pains throughout our own history - with many not being granted the right to vote until the 15th Amendment and having to fight for that right for decades later. Women not being granted the right to vote until the 19th Amendment. And challenges to voting rights, laws, redistricting still coming into play today. Lately, I am fascinated on how cheering for one's political candidate or party emulates cheering for one's favorite sports team. To what extent this has always been the case, I am honestly not sure. I admittedly struggle when I feel that issues are reduced to soundbites and when polarization prevents honest collaboration. But as flawed as our system may be, as much as some may challenge its integrity, we can still exercise more freedom here than almost anywhere in the world. Our elections are among the safest and most secure. We can always improve, but I am very grateful that we have the opportunity to speak up, speak out, and to cast our vote. (...and if I wrote this correctly, you can't tell who I voted for, only that I believe voting is one of the most important things you can do!)