With the presidential election just a heartbeat away, it is time for us to decide where we stand and, more importantly, to take a stand by casting our votes for the candidates of our choice.
It is easy for us to say that we are undecided because we don’t have all the facts and therefore we don’t feel confident to make that choice. However, we seldom have all the facts about anything and yet we jump in and express an opinion about nearly everything.
We do have an obligation to learn as much as possible before committing ourselves, but there is much that we cannot know. The fact that there are questions which will always remain unanswered should not deter us from asking the questions. Socrates encouraged his pupils to question everything, and yet he provided no answers. The questions often provoked their own answers.
In the short time left before we enter the voting booth, we can examine our hearts and try to determine where the truth lies for us. No one will accompany us into that private space, and only we will pull the levers that decide how we wish to be governed. This decision is so personal that it should not be guided by adverse advertising or slick sound bites; it should be a solemn declaration of who we are and what we want from our leaders. It should also reflect our expectation of having our needs met once those leaders are in office.
In so many other countries the opportunity to vote is so precious that citizens cannot understand how cavalier we are about exerting our rights. Some of us will elect to stay home on Nov. 6 because of inclement weather or perhaps even because it’s too nice to spend time waiting in line when the sun is shining. Besides, we rationalize, one vote won’t make a difference anyway. If you believe this myth, check your history and see how many elections were so close that they could not be called until all the absentee ballots were counted.
In an age when we often feel powerless, here is your opportunity to make a choice and to have your voice heard. Don’t throw away that opportunity. Take a deep breath, march proudly to the polls, cast your vote and know that however the election goes, you expressed your opinion.
Ann Dow is a retired college writing instructor.