It’s election day in America! That means you can soon expect (some of) the uproar to die down, the political ads to (mostly) disappear, and the talking heads on television to (sometimes) find a few new topics of conversation.
There’s nothing wrong with being excited about these things. But there’s another reason to be excited about election day in America, and that’s the opportunity to make your voice heard.
The right to vote is one of the most important rights granted to Americans. It represents the most direct way for you to influence your government, express your opinions, and fight for your beliefs. Even more importantly, civic engagement—and particularly civic engagement through voting—forms the bedrock of American government. Without educated, engaged citizens, our republic can’t function.
Filling in those little bubbles on your ballot or pulling the lever may not feel like much in the moment. It may even feel like an annoying chore. The issues are often complicated and messy, casting an informed vote takes time, and that vote may be just one of millions. But it matters. In particular, some state races can be decided by surprisingly small margins in which every vote literally counts. Even in larger races or ballot questions, a few thousand people sitting out the election can make all the difference.
If you still don’t think your vote matters, consider this: What if 92 million other people felt the same way? Because they do.
Regardless of the impacts of a single vote, the simple act of researching issues, forming opinions, and translating those opinions into action is critical part of being a parent, a leader, and an American. Like practicing for a sport, this kind of civic engagement trains your mind to think about the policy issues that matter most to you. It also helps you exercise the muscles that allow you to stand up and participate in your government as a proud citizen—not a subject—of a free, self-governed nation.
Think about it: You have been empowered to advocate for yourself, for your community, and for your nation in a way that many millions in other parts of the world cannot. An awful lot of folks have put an awful lot of blood into ensuring you have that right. Isn’t exercising it worth a little time out of your day?
If you have not already, get out there and vote. Whichever candidates you support, wherever you fall on the issues, GO VOTE. You can use this tool to look up your closest polling place. See you at the polls!