The right to vote is one of the most treasured rights of citizenship in the United States. It is the foundation of our democratic form of government. But many people take voting in this country for granted. They forget the lives lost, and the battles so many fought to achieve this basic right.
Too often we hear people say “My vote is just one vote, it does not matter. My vote changes nothing.” But what does your lack of voting say or do? Is it a lack of care or a lack of knowledge?
Before we say that our vote does not count or that one person cannot make a difference, we must take into consideration the amount of people who all think their votes do not count, who choose to be silent and have their voices not be heard. If we add up all of the people who think and believe that this statement is true, how many votes did not count? How many voices have not been heard? How many have denied themselves of their own basic rights?
Over the years, many people in this country have been denied their right to vote. Among those who have been denied this basic right include Native Americans, African Americans, women, Asians, Hispanics, young adults, those who were poor, Jews, Catholics, etc. We have come a long way in a short time, but we still have even further to go.
If you desire change, you have to fight for it. You have to want it. There are people in this world, in this country, whose voices have had an immense impact on their contributions to history and to society. These men and women chose to have their voices heard and they stood up for their rights. They fought hard to be heard, and because of them, there have been vast changes in the world in which we live today.
Change does not happen overnight, but it begins with one person, it begins with you, someone strong enough to say, “I have had enough.” You deserve to be heard. You deserve to leave your footprint in history. Maybe you will not be famous for it, but your thoughts, your opinions — they matter. That is the message we should remember. We are the melting pot and each and every single one of us, none greater or less than the other, matters.
It is important that we encourage our young people to vote. They should be as excited to register to vote as they are to drive, or to go to prom, or on a date. Our youth are the future. We need to educate them on the issues, and teach them to care. It isn’t about what party you affiliate yourself with. It is about caring about the things around you, the issues, your country, the world, and how the decisions our politicians make will affect our future. Your votes affect their decisions. They affect who is in power. They affect how much power we allow our government to have over us. We can either become robots, or we can embrace our rights and stand up for them. It starts with a simple vote.
We must remember that voting is not a privilege; it is your right. If you do not stand for an issue, you do not have to accept it, all you have to do is take a stand against it. Maybe things won’t change immediately, but you can be the one that stands up, be part of a revolution instead of silently accepting things as they are because you assume that they will always be that way. Even the smallest stone thrown into the water creates a rippling effect.