(HOST)Commentator Madeline Kunin is here today with some thoughts on the importance of Election Day.
(KUNIN) Today is Election Day.
Time to have an impact on your community and your country.
Yes, there are skeptics out there – too many of them – who believe their vote won’t make any difference.
Or, that they are too busy to get to the polls, stand in line, and cast their ballot.
Or, that they haven’t followed the news and don’t feel informed enough to make an intelligent choice.
Or, that there are no real differences between the candidates, so why bother?
Or that the campaigns have been so dirty and negative that they have tuned it all out.
All these might sound like good excuses to sit out the election of 2006.
But no excuse is good enough when we think about those who literally have fought and died for us to retain the privilege of living in a democracy.
When we think of the soldiers, men and women, who have died in Iraq and Afganistan, they died in the belief that they were bringing democracy to these countries.
How can we, then, not protect democracy in our own country, by exercising our right to vote?
No excuse is good enough when we think about our own history.
Suffragists like Susan B. Anthony, devoted their lives to fulfill the dream of giving women the right to vote – a dream she herself never lived to realize.
And a suffragist named Alice Paul, chained herself to the White House fence and was force fed in prison, to convince President Wilson to support the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote.
Abraham Lincoln, lead this country into a dreadful civil war, to enable African Americans to be free and exercise the rights of citizenship, including the most basic right – the right to vote.
We are a divided country with sharply different views that are being played out in this election, but the one arena where we are all equal, where we can be united in our common identity as Americans, is as voters.
Giving up the right to vote means giving up on democracy.
Exercising the right to vote, is an affirmation of democracy – a democracy that others have dedicated their lives to protect.