DEAR READERS: Today is Election Day. I feel compelled to write about it, because I know how important it is to make your vote count.
Perhaps the most precious truth about our country is that it is a thriving democracy. The very nature of a democracy is that the people get to choose their leaders. As citizens of the United States, we have a huge stake in who will lead our government and our people.
I would venture to say that this election cycle has brought more awareness to avid news consumers and regular folks who don't pay that much attention to the candidates and their views. Social media and 24-hour cable news programs are likely the reasons that the airwaves are seemingly flooded with political content. I know some people feel overwhelmed by the amount of information out there, while others are tired of the endless flow. Regardless, I urge you to add your voice to the political conversation today -- if you have not voted already.
For generations, activists have fought to extend the right to vote to all people, including women and African-Americans. If you are 18 years old and are an American citizen in good legal standing, you have the right to vote.
Because the presidential race is so tightly contested, it is even more important for you to cast your ballot. Why? Can you imagine how you would feel if your candidate were to lose your state by a dozen votes, and you had stayed home? It really is true that in a race this close, a single vote counts. And if not enough people go out to vote, the man elected as president may not be a true measure of Americans' political pulse. Don't let anything or anyone stand in the way of voting today!
Even more, if you have children, take them with you. I have taken my daughter to the polls since she was born and told her about the process. She is almost 9 now, and she is excited about going into the ballot booth with me. Naturally, today she favors the candidate I favor. But my husband and I have been exposing her to both candidates and sharing their views, so she can learn what they think and what her parents' opinions are of their thoughts.
Our goal is to inspire her to be an independent thinker so that when her time comes, she will be able to make her own decisions and act on them. This is what my parents -- one a Republican, one a Democrat -- did for me. This is what I am passing on to her and recommending to you.