I do understand those who choose to remain apathetic to government and unconcerned about who has control of this country. After all, Washington isn't exactly fertile ground for change, and with the economy tanking, and no end in sight for the endless war, I have a few friends who think, "Why bother voting? My one vote isn't going to change anything, and even if it did, that person won't be able to change a thing."
But here's the way I look at things.
Yes, fighting for a much-improved healthcare system, the end to global warming, better schools for our kids, and human rights is hard work when it seems that the structure of government has set you up to fail. And yes, many lofty campaign promises end up as empty rhetoric once the winner takes office and realizes that Washington is deeply divided along party lines, making it difficult to get anything accomplished.
But as citizens of this country, we have to believe that there's at least a chance for improvement. A chance to leave this country for the next generation in a better state than the one it's in right now. We owe it to ourselves and to our kids to elect the candidate whom we think most capable of making needed changes to the issues important to us.
Think of it this way: Where would women be if Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony hadn't cared enough to fight for our right to vote? Where would African-Americans be if Martin Luther King, Jr. hadn't cared to fight for civil rights? These were ordinary citizens who did extraordinary things for our country. I truly believe one person can make a difference.
When I vote today, I'm taking my little girl with me. She's too young to know what her mother is doing when she pulls the lever in the voting booth, but my hope is that someday she'll realize the importance of making her voice heard. And that one day, like her mother, (for better or for worse), she'll have a lot to say too.
So, if you live in one of the 22 states holding primaries or caucuses today, please do go out and exercise your right to vote, even if it isn't for Isabella's favorite candidate.
To learn where the candidates stand on issues that are important to you, head here.