Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Doesn't it seem like it's taken years to get to this point? Election Day is finally here. I hope that you vote today if you haven't done so already in early voting. Reports so far are mixed about lines at polling places. I just spoke with someone in south Florida who waited 2 hours this morning. Some of our Orlando SunSpots crew waited a half hour and here in North Carolina voting lines were about 15-20 minutes for our staff that voted today. Looks like the early voting, where available, helped the process.
To me, this is one of our greatest aspects of our democracy. So many people who have come before us have suffered and even died to either get the right to vote or to protect that right. I remember when President Nixon certified the Constitutional Amendment for the voting age to be lowered to 18 from 21. Kids were being sent off to Vietnam at 18 to fight, but could not cast a vote and had no voice until then. Amazing how times have changed. Think of all the African-Americans who were intimidated and murdered because they wanted to cast their ballot. Even though they had the right to vote in the 1870, it wasn't until the Voting Rights Act in 1965 that voting became easier and more Federally protected. Just think that in 1870 voting rights were given to slaves. Slaves. It's hard to wrap the mind around that fact. What about women and their right to vote? Can you believe women didn't have the right to vote until 1920? What progress we've made! Look at other countries where people are still beaten because they want to vote. Why don't we have 100% turnouts at the polls?
My point in bringing all this up is that so many have toiled and given so much of themselves in every way to get us to this point today. To sit still and not vote is a disservice to their dedication, their lives and the foundation of freedom that they all laid to lead us to where we are today.
How wonderful it is now to see where we are in history. I hope that you take the time today and cast your vote for whomever you see fit. If lines are long think of those who had no lines to stand in. If the weather's bad think of the many who braved more than the elements to cast a vote.
We take so much for granted here and many of us think our voice doesn't matter, but it does matter. It matters who you vote for and it matters that you do vote. Please do so and make your voice heard for all those voices long since stilled by time.
One other thing. Let's make our national election day a Federal Holiday. We should be celebrating this day with as much patriotic enthusiasm as we do July 4th. What do you think about making today a Holiday where we vote and share the American Experience as one? I think we should and we should pass the idea around till we make it happen.
However today ends I hope that we all come together as one tomorrow and that in whatever way we can we work to make our country and the world a better place.