Do you ever find yourself talking back to the television while watching the news? Maybe you have stopped engaging with people because you are frustrated with their opinions. As a result, have you decided not to exercise your voice in the upcoming election?
Now, I understand how you feel. However, I want to encourage you not to give up! Let me explain why voting is so important.
Every two years, we have the privilege of exercising our right as citizens to share our voting preferences. Yes, it is a privilege! Why am I sure it is a privilege? Because I have traveled and lived in locations where voting was not an option or the outcome was predetermined.
In fact, when I was a child, my aunt was arrested for marching to ensure African Americans could vote. When I asked my mother about the situation, she sat me down and explained what it was like growing up in the segregated south.
As I listened to my mother explain how I was blessed because I would reap the benefits of the sacrifices of others, I didn’t understand what she was talking about. I didn’t understand segregation and racism. However, as I grew older, I began comprehending what my mother was trying to explain.
As soon as I was eligible, I registered to vote. A group on campus was registering voters, so I completed my registration. I remember I was a junior in college, and I had signed my ROTC contract to serve our county in the military.
I called my mother and told her I had signed my contract and was ready to vote in the upcoming election. My mother was surprised but also proud of my decision.
During my 20-year career in the military, I have always exercised my right to vote. As a leader, I always encouraged my soldiers to vote. I would explain why it was necessary. As soldiers, we serve to defend the ideal of America, which includes freedom and the right to vote.
Let me be clear: I did not tell them whom to vote for or what political party to support. Voting is and should always be a personal choice. What matters is your vote.
So, when you mail your ballot or enter the voting booth, remember the sacrifices of those who came before you. Those who risked everything so you could vote.
“Voting is the expression of our commitment to ourselves, one another, this country, and this world.”-Sharon Salzberg
I am proud to say I have never missed the opportunity to vote. Even when I was living abroad, I still voted.
As we prepare for the upcoming midterm elections, I encourage you to stand on the shoulders of those who came before you and vote. Your voice is essential, and our country needs you.
Are you performing your civic duty in the upcoming election?
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