By Thomas Campbell
Democracy does not just happen, it is made. America is the oldest modern democracy and only because many individuals have molded it. People of all colors, classes, nationalities, creed, sexual orientation and gender identity have devoted their lives for nearly three centuries to preserving and expanding democratic rights on the battlefield, on the streets, in legislative halls, in the classroom, around the dinner table and in the voting booth.
Democracy is a work in progress that was not perfected in its creation and is not perfected today. To create a better society, a better world, we must work for it.
We must fight to maintain and enjoy the privileges we have, and we must fight to ensure that privileges some individuals have are extended to all members of our society. The most fundamental tool and most important weapon in a democratic citizens tool belt is the vote.
The vote is the ultimate check on an elected official’s power. Even the most corrupt and bought politicians can be defeated. No matter what, to be elected means they were voted for. If they can be voted into office, they can be voted out of office.
Your vote matters. Your vote matters in deciding who will be president, who will be in both houses of Congress, who will be your governor and who will be in charge of your town. Your vote is your voice. If you have the ability to vote and choose not to, you are silencing yourself.
Dictators and other undemocratic forces love to discourage and suppress voting. They thrive off of apathy and hopelessness. The less you think you can effect change, the more they are empowered. The less you think your voice matters, the louder they get. You kill a dictatorship with democracy. You silence undemocratic forces with your vote.
Your vote is even more powerful. It affects your life, your friends and family’s lives, the life of your neighbor and people all across the country now and in the future. Every time you vote, you shape this country in the way you think it should be. Every time you don’t vote, this country is shaped for you and you are forced to live with it. If you aren’t shaping this country, someone else is.
If you are sick of the injustices in this country. If you are sick of how flawed this country seems to be. Then participate. Change starts with you. Get involved how you can with what you have.
But it all starts with the vote.
Vote for people and laws who make this country better, for all people. Vote out people who ignore you, and vote in people who will listen.
Democracy does not just happen, it is made. It is made not by those in history books, but by everyday people using their voices today. Your voice is powerful, use it. Vote.