Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Inconvenience Can Be a Price of Good Citizenship


I almost decided to skip voting this time around. It was only a city council vote. The candidate for my ward was the incumbent and fortunately he had pulled through a few months ago on an issue that I was feeling pretty passionate about. I wanted him to win and felt pretty certain that he would. The other two candidates were for at large seats; one had no opposition because his opponent had been disqualified, the other had almost won the last mayoral election, so I was pretty confident she would be elected too.

Earlier in the day my daughter had called saying that they needed a copy of my driver’s license and social security card for a grant she was applying for. I pulled them out of my wallet and stuck them in the fax machine. When I got to the polling place at 7:00 pm, I was annoyed when I found they weren’t where they should be. I used to complain in California when I was voting that anybody could pretend to be anybody else, because they never asked for an ID of any kind ever, just a signature and your address. I don’t know if that has changed or not, but in Utah they want a photo ID with your address on it.

So back home I went to get the driver’s license, making two trips to the polling place for, as far as my vote went, a pretty unimportant election. The point is that it was an election, a chance, especially at the local level, to make my voice heard. Voting is a privilege, but it is also an obligation. No election is ever trivial enough to skip, no matter how busy or disorganized I am, or how inconvenient it may be. My niece, who may never have the intelligence to make a wise vote, is excited about turning 18 and voting. I need to show the enthusiasm for voting that she has, and never take it for granted. That which we don’t use, we may lose. We need to take advantage of every chance we have to participate in the democratic process and exercise our rights as free citizens. Too many other people made the ultimate sacrifice so that we have the freedom and continue to have the freedom to vote. The times we live in are precarious and we need to take our citizenship seriously. I hope you voted too.

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