Last night I received this email from a a close friend, Ellen Naumann. One persons account of how important and serious we should be taking our right to vote and that it shouldn't be taken for granted.
From: Ellen Naumann
Subject: Voting on Tuesday
To my family and friends,
January 30, 2008
I voted today. Realized that I would be missing the primaries on 2/5 here in CA and had missed the deadline for vote-by-mail, so I drove over 50 miles to cast my vote.
I can hear many of you now saying, “and your point is what?” Well, I’m writing because I am compelled to encourage all of my friends and associates to vote Feb. 5th, or whenever your polls are open.
My vote today was cast in one of LA County’s main government buildings. Perhaps the air of bureaucracy made it feel different than my usual polling place, (a spot in the trailer park clubhouse down the street), but it did feel different in a very great way; it felt really patriotic and meaningful and it got me thinking about how important our votes are.
My vote got me thinking about how women before me had to fight for our right to vote and now we have a woman running for President, and we have a woman as our Speaker of the House of Representatives. It reminded me how African Americans also had to fight for their constitutional right to vote and to be acknowledged, accepted and treated equally. And now we have an African American running for President, who transcends any archaic color barriers. And up until recently, we had John Edwards, a kid from a poor family who is yet another example of how one’s own personal success can ultimately be used towards helping the greater good.
It got me thinking that voting is our way of saying thank you to our senior citizens, to their predecessors and to their predecessors who worked towards establishing this right to vote for all Americans. And how voting is our way of demonstrating to the generations after us, that each of us counts as a citizen of America, no matter race, gender, color, sexual orientation, or creed.
And so there I stood in the little booth, with total freedom to choose which candidate I wanted to win this primary! How cool is that? I got to vote about the roads and community colleges, and term limits and gaming revenues in our state. I was at that moment an active participant in democracy in the purest form possible, I was voting.
My effort – and your effort to vote – most especially honors every single man, woman and child affected by this terrible war – the families here and the innocent civilians and victims in Iraq. Voting here at home is the very least we can do to honor all people who suffer, fight and stand-up for freedom, civil liberties, and human rights, no matter the country.
Obviously my party affiliation in this vote is Democratic, but I am a citizen first, honoring, respecting and exercising my right to vote. I hope you will do the same with yours.