Election Day, November 1, 2011

We wanted to first of all, thank all of you who voted in today’s election.

As we’ve noted before, these are challenging times that we are living in. I asked a 23-year-old man who worked for a glass repair company last week if he had voted. He said, “Honestly, I work all the time. I come home, spend some time with my kids, eat dinner and collapse at the end of the day. I really should vote, but I haven’t had a chance to even look at my ballot. And frankly, I don’t think they care about people like me.”

There was also the 90-year-old man who voted in every election there ever was. But last year, his wife got sick and he’s spending all of his time still working at his home and caring for her. He didn’t get sent a ballot this year, and he’s not sure why. But he also wasn’t sure he could follow up with the Clerk to get one either. He said, “maybe they don’t care what a 90-year old man would vote for anyway.”

Two stories, two very distinctly different people in the same election. I know that I care about those two strangers that I spoke to this week. I want the voice of a young man who really works hard to provide for his family to be a part of who gets elected or what issues pass or fail. I want the years of experience of a 90-year-old man who always voted to be part of my political conversation. And I am sad that these two souls represent all the other people who don’t feel they have a voice.

Your vote is your voice. The guy who drives the Lexus to work everyday and that young man who I spoke to both cast one vote each. One is not more powerful than the other based on what they wear or what they drive. But when you truly have nothing and are struggling in these times, your vote might be all you have. And when you don’t vote, you simply add to the silence.

Don’t let the cynicism of a system that has conventional models of power tell you your vote won’t count. Don’t let a bit of fear that you don’t know the ballot keep you from voting. Ask. Learn.

Then vote. There are a few more hours until the polls close. Please vote.

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