Sept. 21, 2019 — I think we can all agree that these are not “normal” times for our nation, the upcoming 2020 elections nor what will be following in the four years ahead, regardess of who our next president is.
I’ve spoken with a lot of folks who have told me that their distaste for the candidates — on both sides of the political divide — has soured them to the election process.
I understand this.
But I have always believed that our right to vote is not merely a privilege. It is also — and perhaps more importantly — an obligation we have as Americans.
Over the years, I have gone to the voting booth or mailed in my ballot in support of candidates for different reasons. Sometimes it was because I connected with the ideals of one candidate over another. Other times it was because I felt their vision for our country was better defined or more suited to the temperament of our changing world politically, economically or socially.
I have voted for Democrats, Republicans and Independents.
I even voted for Ross Perot (whatever he was.)
In each case, voting was a privilege I enjoyed because, no matter who won, I still felt our country would be in capable hands.
This time, I’m not so sure.
For that reason, this time it’s not about enjoying the privilege of voting as much as it is about accepting the obligation we have, as Americans, to educate ourselves and make an informed decision.
I can’t rely on spoon-fed rhetoric, headlines, carefully staged interviews, rants on social media or even many of the news sources that claim to be unbiased.
I have to roll up my sleeves, dig in and do the work so that, come Election Day, I can do the right thing instead of the easy thing — and ensure my voice is heard when it comes to choosing someone who will represent my highest ideals as an American.
It also means I agree to accept — and live with — the results, no matter who is elected.
But having faith in that outcome is dependent upon the notion that as many of us as possible participate in that process. In recent years, it seems that the push for voter participation has been a partisan affair, with each side encouraging “their own” to vote — further dividing us.
Instead, we should be voicing our choice as Americans first, with a vote that truly represents our country by its sheer volume of collective voices rather than by which side can shout the loudest.
That is the expectation our forefathers had for each of us when they fought for our right to vote in a republic protected by the Constitution.
This Tuesday, Sept. 24, there will be a non-partisan group assembled at the Siuslaw Public Library to inform and register residents during National Voter Registration Day.
The event will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the library’s lobby.
This will be an opportunity to register or to update your voter information.
Please take the time to ensure you will have a voice through your right to vote.
No matter who you vote for, I support your choice — not as a Democrat, Republican or Independent.
I will support your choice as a fellow American.