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Posts Tagged ‘Dont forget to vote!’

America,

Good Morning.  On today, November 4th, 2008 you are being asked to take time out of your day to head to your local polling location and to cast your vote for the President of the United State of America.  In addition you will be asked to vote for congressmen, many of whom you probably don’t know much about.  The focus for the better part of 2 years has been on the Presidential race and that is likely the choice that is foremost in your mind today.

A word of caution–  With record turnouts expected again this year, it is likely as we have already seen through some of the early voting experiences this year, massive lines, malfunctioning technology, and a generally frustrating experience.  Do not let it get the better of you.  Take a moment to meet a new neighbor, to appreciate the volunteers that are manning your polling stations, to be thankful for a country in which we get to exercise the right to vote for leadership.

I don’t care who you vote for.  By this time we all have our reasons for voting for a given candidate and I’m not here to persuade anyone to another way of thinking.  I ask only one thing of anyone that reads this–

Don’t stop.

We fall prey, I think, to this overwhelming sense of duty once every 4 years and after casting our vote think to ourselves “well, I’ve done my part.”  We get frustrated if our candidate loses or we rejoice if he (or in the future perhaps, she) wins.  I ask that whoever loses in this election that their supporters be gracious to the best of their ability.  I know, in an election of such intensity with so many telling us so much is at stake, that it will be tough.  But it is necessary that we move forward together no matter who wins.  For those that lose, your responsibility will be to maintain a critical eye on the winning candidate and the government as a whole, their decisions and policies, and to make your voice heard when they falters in their responsibility. For the winners, let nothing be sacred.  Enjoy your victory but do not fail to recognize that yours is the same responsibility as those who lost– maintain a critical eye.   No candidate no matter how much we like them or agree is flawless and no government infallible.  If bitterness is the sin of the defeated, then so is pride for the victorious.  As a nation we can afford neither.

Today is not the finish line but the starting line.  Your active participation may be the culmination of Presidential election efforts but it is not the conclusion of your civic responsibility.  You have a duty to yourself, your community, and your country to continue to educate yourself on the issues that effect you most, to actively question your government, and to work for its improvement through state and local elections, as well as through your everyday conduct in the community.  But who cares about duty when you’re trying to pay bills?  When you have mouths to feed, there aren’t enough hours in a day to get it all done, and sometimes you feel like the world is set against you?

The task of keeping the American people engaged in this process falls to those leaders we have elected, the media who reports on their activities, and to those who worked so hard to mobilize Americans over these many months.  I doubt highly our elected officials will fulfill their duty to engage us and to serve our needs so that we can devote more time to the task of citizenship.  I doubt highly that the media, once viewers tire of the fervor of post election coverage, will be diligent in reminding us of our responsibility as citizens.  This means I can only hope that those individuals, who showed so much commitment and drive in their respective campaigns will continue in public service.   Run for office, play a role in an upcoming local or state campaign, write about it, talk about it, become the leader you have been training to be.  Become the journalists we need, the politicians we would like to have, the organizers that help orient our frustrations and give a voice to our grievances, that help us achieve those small victories that often make the biggest impact in our lives.

America– this has been and is a great nation.  We can all do our part to see that it continues to be so but only by recognizing that we have real problems and that the government, no matter who is elected, is not going to fix all of them.  Don’t stop talking to your family and friends and co-workers about the things that matter to you.  Be it religion or education, politics or the military, taxes or the environment…in a nation with aspirations as great as ours no topic should be off limits and no idea should be above critique.  A great people deserve a great nation but so to does a great nation deserve a great people.

To the future President:  Congratulations, you have won the support of enough people to claim the highest office of our nation.  You have whipped us into a fervor and people are active and engaged more than I can remember in the last 10 years.  The eyes of the nation and the world are upon you and your presidency will mark what we hope to be a turning point for our Republic.

Do no squander this energy, this sense of empowerment, this personal investment in our nation.

Do not let us down.

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