(First, the disclaimer. As many of you have figured out, I don't always sleep the most regular hours. This is why you get responses to e-queries at 4 am or similarly, blog posts. I'm not going to go into the reasons why my sleep schedule is messed-up because the blog readership simply doesn't need to know them--likewise, please don't offer me any techniques to avoid insomnia, etc, because I'm not looking for them. That said, the reason that I'm up right now is because I've been thinking about the election. I have tried to keep LIT SOUP fairly apolitical, since it's a business blog, and I don't necessarily believe in browbeating my politics into people's heads. Just the same, I have never made any secret of the fact that I am a registered Democrat and happy to be one. Now the actual post, which is directed at American citizens...)
Regardless of your political orientation, please go out today and vote. This is not a presidential election, so it may seem like it isn't as important. But it is dreadfully important, since it will determine who controls Congress for the next two years. Our nation was built as one with checks and balances, and our Congressional representatives are just as vital to the health and future of this country as any president is. In fact, I would argue that they are more vital than the executive branch, since only they are the ones that make the laws which govern this country.
Naturally, I would jump for joy if the Democrats regained control of one or both houses of Congress, since I'm not a fan of President Bush. But I am not urging you to go out and vote in order to make that happen.
You should vote because you are an American, and it is your civil right and duty to do so. By exercising your voting power, you are sending a clear message that you care enough about America to get off your ass and make your voice heard. One of the worst things that can happen in a democracy is apathy, which leads to discontent and bad governance. Poor political leaders get elected when a populace does not care enough about who governs its nation.
As an American citizen, it is absolutely inexcusable not to vote. We are a country founded upon political and civil principles, chief among them that it is the American people who ultimately rule this nation through the aegis of their elected leaders. We are not a nation of kings or queens, we are not a country where any one citizen is valued above another by virture of their birth. We are a democratic republic which has lasted for 230 years, and which will only continue to last as long as its people practice and preserve its Constitution and the tenets contained within.
There is only one way to do this.
You must stand up and move away from the computer. Put on your shoes and a coat. Walk out your front door and get yourself to your local polling place. Vote for whoever and whichever political party you want, but don't deny yourself the chance to have a say in your own country. We are all individuals, and each and every one of our votes matters.
My local polling place opens at 6 am, and ten minutes before that I'm going to put on my shoes and coat, and walk out my front door. I am going to vote because I am proud to be an American and I am proud of my country, no matter what its leaders have done. I am going to vote because my parents took me into the voting booths with them, when I was a young child, and taught me the importance of what they were doing. I am going to vote because I still want to have a country and a place to vote in, when I have young children of my own to teach. I am going to vote because I want my voice to be heard. And I am going to vote because I could not live with myself, if I did not.