It’s voting day in America, and the excitement is palpable both online (thank you, Facebook and Twitter) and on the streets. We sincerely hope you have already or are planning to cast your ballot today, but if you’re still questioning WHY it’s important to participate in American democracy…take a hint from these five wise and inspiring people:
1. Choosing not to vote is a vote for the status quo.
“If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don’t bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched Establishments of the two major parties, who please rest assured are not dumb, and who are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV on primary day. By all means stay home if you want, but don’t bullshit yourself that you’re not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.” ― David Foster Wallace
2. Who we elect as President will represent our values on the world’s stage.
“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” ― H.L. Mencken
3. Democracy doesn’t work unless you participate.
“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt
4. Voting — especially on propositions and local initiatives — is an opportunity to reduce inequality and improve life for all people.
“The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.” ― Lyndon B. Johnson
“Sometimes it takes a while to recognize that someone has a special ability to get us to believe in ourselves, to tie that belief to our highest ideals, and to imagine that together we can do great things.
In those rare moments, when such a person comes along, we need to put aside our plans and reach for what we know is possible.” ― Caroline Kennedy