Twenty four years ago, on the Tuesday of the first full week in November, I dutifully filled in my absentee presidential ballot (for John Anderson, who was running as an independent).
I've voted in every election that I've been eligible since then.
As a citizen of a democracy, it is my civic responsibility to vote. And I take that responsibility very seriously. I vote in primaries, I vote in special elections, I vote in general elections.
This year it's especially important to vote, regardless of whose side you support, your candidate needs your support. It's critical that EVERYONE who can vote, vote.
This year, it looks like Washington State is going to have an 85% turnout of registered voters, which is likely to be the highest since WWII. I am indescribably proud of this statistic (OTOH, in 2000, 74% of the registered voters voted, which was only 56% of the voting age population)
Unfortunately, the turnouts in other states aren't nearly as good, for instance, in 2000, only 55% of the registered voters in Oklahoma turned out to vote (48% of the voting age population).
With an election that is this close, and with what appear to be concerted efforts to suppress the vote in close contests, it is even more critical that everyone take time off from work and vote. As I said - I don't care who you vote for, just that you vote.
If you don't vote, then you don't get to complain.
Valorie chased down the following poem by John Greenleaf Whittier that was read on NPR this morning. It's a bit florid (it was written in 1848) but it says it well:
THE POOR VOTER ON ELECTION DAY.
THE proudest now is but my peer,
The highest not more high;
To-day, of all the weary year,
A king of men am I.
To-day, alike are great and small,
The nameless and the known;
My palace is the people's hall,
The ballot-box my throne!
Who serves to-day upon the list
Beside the served shall stand;
Alike the brown and wrinkled fist,
The gloved and dainty hand!
The rich is level with the poor,
The weak is strong to-day;
And sleekest broadcloth counts no more
Than homespun frock of gray.
To-day let pomp and vain pretence
My stubborn right abide;
I set a plain man's common sense
Against the pedant's pride.
To-day shall simple manhood try
The strength of gold and land;
The wide world has not wealth to buy
The power in my right hand!
While there's a grief to seek redress,
Or balance to adjust,
Where weighs our living manhood less
Than Mammon's vilest dust,--
While there's a right to need my vote,
A wrong to sweep away,
Up! clouted knee and ragged coat
A man's a man to-day
Tomorrow, back to technical stuff.