Today is November 7th, the day we exercise the right to participate in our democracy. I would bet if you did a random survey of people roaming the streets you would find that a decent percentage of people are not even aware that today is the last day for them to exercise this fundamental right. Even with all the political ads and news coverage I would venture to guess that most people who have not been paying attention will only learn tonight when they get home or tomorrow when they glance at the paper that they have missed their opportunity to voice their opinion on a candidate or a proposition.
Tomorrow morning bills will have become laws, taxes will have been raised or lowered, and maybe civil liberties will have been expanded or curtailed.
So I have to say, if you knew this was coming and didn’t bother to exercise this right, you can blame only yourself if something you don’t like makes it into law. You have given up any validity in your complaints. Because you didn’t try. I unfortunately have to count myself among those who couldn’t be bothered this year and maybe that is why I am so upset about this. I knew it was coming and forgot to reregister for my new district. Something I should have done the moment I moved in. My drivers license is a year out of date as well. So while this may sound hypocritical based on that tidbit of information, know that I’m talking to myself too. There is no excuse for it, especially in a vote-by-mail state.
I believe this level of apathy is counted on by a great many people that are trying to get laws passed around this country.
I propose a change:
Today should be a national holiday. Not just for government workers, who are likely more informed than the general populous, but for all citizens. Our culture should rally around this day. We should wake up in the morning happy in not having to work and remembering why. We should have ink stained fingers proving that we voted and for the inevitable “voting day sales” that will pop up we should not be allowed to have our discounts unless we present the “black thumb of democracy” or some other catchy bit of proof.
We should tailgate at our designated polling place and offer treats to those who have taken the time to participate, regardless of their political affiliation or disposition.
Write your Congressman, Senator, Governor, Mayor, or any other person that represents you in this squeaky machine of American democracy and tell them it’s time for a new national holiday.