I choose to make time to vote today.
Our American political process, the way we select our leaders, the way those leaders govern, is often ridiculously frustrating. Even as I resolve to go vote today, I have to admit to myself that none of the current pool of candidates for president is at all exciting to me. I’m not the least bit thrilled at the prospect of handing over leadership of my country to any of them.
But these are the candidates we have. These are the candidates we, following the process we have been developing and refining for the last eighty years or so, have created and selected. And one of them will be president.
It’s easy to stay at home and cover my ears and tell myself it doesn’t matter. It’s easy to send out memes over Facebook proclaiming that I won’t vote because my voice doesn’t matter, because the end result is likely to be equally distasteful no matter the result. It’s easy to complain that voting is like shouting into a hurricane. It’s easy to give in to despair and choose to take my vote and go home.
People before me have felt the same way. Some of them chose to let their voices be heard, and today we have a strong republic instead of a monarchy. Today we see black Americans as people, not as property. Today women can vote and run for office. Today fascism does not rule in Europe and Asia.
Many of those decisions were made on the battlefield as well as the ballot box. But they were made because people like me and you chose to let their voices be heard. They were made because people like me and you chose to go to the ballot box and the battlefield and make what difference they could. And whatever tiny sliver of difference one person can make among millions in the voting booth or on the battlefield, it is infinitely greater than the difference one makes who chooses to stay home.
It is entirely likely that I will go to the ballot box today and my vote will not represent my wishes. It is entirely likely that whatever the result today and in November, I will be dissatisfied.
But I will make a bigger difference–to the result, to the process, to the country I choose to love–than anyone who takes their vote and goes home.
But even if I make no difference, even if my country is irredeemably beyond my reach, I have an important reason to vote: because my voice matters.
It matters whether or not anyone hears it. It matters whether my vote goes to the candidate I like most or dislike least. It matters whether, three years from now, I like the direction my country is headed in or despair at it.
My voice matters, so I choose to make time to vote today.
What will you do with your voice?