Nov. 02, 2018

TITLE: Why we vote

For those who haven't already voted in some fashion, this coming Tuesday (Nov. 6) is a glorious day. Sunshine from dawn to dusk, no matter how the sky might seem to be falling at the moment. It's the day we Americans get to collectively tell the smug and the powerful to go jump in a lake, if we so choose. And this time around, that lake's looking to be as crowded as a community pool on the Fourth of July.

Think about it. No matter how turned-off we are by politicians and their antics, no matter how powerless and manipulated we feel at the moment, one incontrovertible fact remains: Every two years the citizens of the United States of America and THEY ALONE have the opportunity to change an entire chamber of congress, the House of Representatives. Every single seat -- all 435 -- is up for grabs. We also get a pretty good shot at completely shifting the balance of power in the Senate. And every four years... you know what happens every four years. All we need to do, as they say, is show up.

Which is exactly what certain very powerful persons and their political Svengalis hope they can convince us to NOT do; mind game us into thinking that exercising this sacred right is somehow beneath us. Convincing us that defeatism and smirking cynicism is somehow savvy, not a dereliction of civic duty; that voting is not worth our precious time. The amount of time it takes to binge watch a couple dumb YouTube videos. Or to grouse about how this country has gone straight to hell. Or to wait yet a little longer for someone else to do our jobs for us.

Make no mistake about it, if these interests can't get us to vote the way they'd like, they're more than happy to settle for second best: getting us to not vote at all, voluntarily reject as near a God-given right as any government can convey on its people: the right of self-determination. And they're more than happy to keep us in a perpetual 50-50 deadlock. Because all ties go to the already powerful. They win.

Why vote? If you're a young person, you vote because it's a rite of passage infinitely more meaningful than being able to drive or to take a drink. Any upcoming generation that does not make its wishes known at the ballot box will cede all future griping rights (guaranteed in the Constitution) about the decisions that were made in your absence -- decisions that will affect your life for decades to come.

If you're a woman, you vote to put your foot down; the way you do in your own household when things get out of whack.

If you're a man, you vote because, well, because you got it wrong last time, Dad. It's time to grow up and accept your current paternal role in society -- and that means owning up and setting things right.

If you're a leftie, why bother voting at all? After all, the Big Blue Wave is rolling in, right? Because this coming Tuesday is not about just getting over the top, it's about SLAMMING IT. If there really is a wave, it would be much better if it were a tsunami.

And if you're tired of all the rancor and name-calling, you vote to reestablish a modicum of balance to the branches of government that will actually improve day-to-day political discourse when one party is no longer able to get away pretty much anything it wants.

We vote because we do not believe the world is a like hotel room that we can trash like a petulant rock star without repercussions.

We vote because we believe that a personal right to speak up for what matters runs in our veins. Blood, white, and blue.

And, quite simply, we vote just so that we are no longer identified by everyone who knows us as, well... the kind of person who doesn't vote; the kind of person who throws in their cards even when they're holding a winning hand.

Who votes? You vote. Especially in this upcoming election. An election in which millions of our fellow citizens will remember for the rest of their lives that they took their fingers out of the wind and placed them firmly against the levers of power.

And we vote because we believe we have a personal responsibility to put a check on the power of a certain fat cat president, currently grinning ear-to-ear like an enormous orange Cheshire. The cat that ate the canary. The cat that ate the canary in the coal mine.

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Multiple award-winning author Charles Carr writes and edits for many well-known publications. Also a noted playwright, Carr's newest show, "Mark Twain's A Christmas Carol," is in pre-production for Dec. shows at the California Center for the Arts. Contact him at charlescarr.com.