Vote to Honor Veterans

Within a few moments of waking this morning, I was reminded of the significance of this first Tuesday in November—Election Day. From the early morning news to the steady stream of campaign signs on the drive to work, there was no way of simply overlooking one’s civil responsibility today. Yet, the voter turnout in this country remains at a staggeringly low level—just above 50% for presidential election years and not even breaking 40% for midterm elections according to the Census Bureau.

I could speculate all day about the root causes of this apparent political apathy in our country, but instead, I would like to draw a parallel between another significant holiday in this country, Veterans Day, which happens to be exactly one week from Election Day this year. One would be hard pressed to find an average citizen who would dismiss the idea of honoring our men and women of service on Veterans Day. However, isn’t that exactly what we do when we decline to exercise our right to vote on Election Day?

In a speech delivered to an audience of World War II veterans on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, Ronald Reagan conveyed the deep significance of democracy:
“You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One's country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man.”

I am reminded on this day, that while we cannot begin to repay the debt we owe our veterans for their brave service, we can honor their sacrifice by partaking in the process for which they devoted their lives. Despite any misgivings one could have with the current state of our government—and trust me, I have more than a few—failing to exercise the right to vote only further broadens the disparity between those who are running this country and those who are doing most of the living in it. In my opinion, no act or omission could dishonor our veterans more. So today, I encourage each of you to take part in this great system of democracy by casting your vote, even if it is only to say thank you to those men and women who gave up so much so that you can.