Monday, November 14, 2016

Election Day – Why I Vote



36 years ago, I was so excited to vote for the first time for the President of the United States.  Since the law states that the election is held the first Tuesday after the first Monday in the month of November, a November 2nd birth date made me eligible.  I was a senior in high school and a big fan of Ronald Reagan (he ran against the incumbent Jimmy Carter).  Even though not all of my friends were able to vote that year, we all wore election pins supporting our candidates.  It was fun and exciting.  The big day arrived and I did what is an America right, I went to cast my vote. 
Interesting point – there has been the question of whether or not voting is a privilege of citizenship, or a right.  According to an article by Garrett Epps in The Atlantic entitled “Voting: Right or Privilege,” the right that is mentioned most in the United States Constitution is the “right to vote.”  That phrase is mentioned 5 times, which includes the Amendments.  For example, the 19th Amendment states, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”  And, of course, the all important 26th Amendment, that enabled me to cast my vote for President at 18, which states:

“1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

That was 1980, now that we are in 2016, and in this Presidential election cycle, both of our daughters had the chance to cast their votes for the first time.  Even though they may not have been as enthusiastic as I was (no pins), they equally looked forward to this day.  Their vote counted, their vote mattered and now they had a say in our government.  In addition, they have now gained the right to criticize, critique or compliment the new President.  That comes with being involved and voting.  I am proud of both of them to take the time to show an interest and to cast their vote.  We are after all, as Abraham Lincoln said towards the end of the Gettysburg address, a country whose government is “…of the people, by the people, for the people…”  No matter whom you voted for, and whether or not that person won or lost, our nation (or the ones that actually did vote) have chosen.
My 1980 election pin