An Honor and a Privilege

One of the things I like most about blogging is the opportunity to express myself, to make my voice heard. About two and a half hours ago, I expressed myself in a different way, again making my voice heard: I voted.

Ever since I was old enough to, I have voted in every presidential election, most primaries, and quite a few (though not all) local elections in between. I still get chills down my spine standing in line waiting to vote, or when I’m about to submit my ballot.

Another thing that amazes me is that since tonight was a primary election, there were two groups of people there–Democrats (like me) and Republicans (like my wife). Even though we disagree passionately about issuesthat have caused bloodshed and violence elsewhere, tonight these two groups of people simply registered their opinions on a ballot, smiled politely at one another, and went their separate ways. No killing. No fighting. Not even any spirited yelling (we save that for the conventions).

While I’m often dismayed at the number of people who don’t vote, I understand. It is, after all, their right not to do so. But those who don’t will never know the feeling of being part of a larger whole, while retaining a distinct individuality (unless they blog, of course). They won’t experience the knowledge that their one little vote counts just as much as the president’s. That the vote of the poorest man carries equal weight with the vote of the richest man. Or that they participate in the same time-honored act as did George Washington, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr. before them.

Voting is a paradoxical experience–both humbling and at the same time empowering, both magical yet practical, unifying and dividing. Most of all, though, it is an honor and a privilege I hope I am always grateful to have.

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