I regard voting as both a right and a responsibility. I wrote about this awhile ago, and my views haven’t changed.
I’m not about to use this post to recommend one position, or set of values, over another. I only want to encourage everyone to find their way to a polling place today if you haven’t done so already.
All Big Scouts should take seriously the responsibility of exercising their right to vote.
As good neighbors and citizens, we have a responsibility to play nicely in a very large, shared sandbox. We have the responsibility to:
- Be considerate of others’ beliefs, even when they differ from our own
- Help others who are less fortunate than us
- Become educated in issues by seeking out many sources of information
- Be a mindful steward of the planet’s natural resources
- Obey the law and pay our taxes
- Be an active voice for the change we want to see (including laws or policy we’d like to see changed).
This last one, in particular, means exercising our right to vote.
Let’s not forget that this right has not come without sacrifice.
- African American men were legally allowed to vote in 1869, but many states made it horrifically difficult through literacy tests and poll taxes.
- Women of all races were not allowed to vote until the Nineteenth Amendment was passed, in time for the Presidential election of 1920. (I hope there’s a huge celebration of the centennial of our right to vote here in the U.S. — I’d like to be part of it.)
- Native Americans were denied the right to vote in many western states well into the 20th century.
And let’s not forget that residents of Washington, DC still have taxation without representation. They have no voting members of Congress!
Voting is a right, it’s a responsibility, and it feels really good to exercise it — even if we may be disappointed by the results of a specific election.