It’s November and thoughts drift to things happening this month. In the US we start the month by voting on the first Tuesday and move to Veterans Day on the 11th. In my mind the two are related in a way. Individuals who are willing to put their lives on the line for us, help protect our freedoms. They deserve to be honored. Those of us who are not part of the armed services are the ones who have dropped the ball. I’ll get to that in a moment.
The roots of Veterans day began on November 11,1918 with the cessation of fighting in the World War 1. It was the first time a war had been fought on that global scale and was called “The War to End All Wars”. Unfortunately that label didn’t prove accurate and later it became a day set aside to honor veterans of all wars.
We now have another related holiday for our vets, which in my mind is a little confusing as the two overlap. It is Memorial day which is celebrated on the last Monday in May honoring those veterans who have died while serving in the armed forces. Don’t get me wrong. I think the vets deserve two holidays for the work and risks they take, it’s just the definitions of the two holidays that seem redundant.
Be that as it may, these soldiers are doing a service so we can be safe at home and have certain freedoms. Voting is one of those privelages and yet many Americans just can’t be bothered to vote! There are countries where voting is mandatory and their turn out is in the upper 90%. In the US it isn’t a must but a please take this responsibility seriously. Our numbers are not that impressive. During the presidential elections we might have about 57% but with the midterm elections it’s frequently less than 40%. I personally find that shameful. This is our duty to our country and is one way to honor our soldiers. It is saying, “Thank you, troops. We’ll do our part to protect our freedoms.” Our voting participation is backing up our troops and saying to our leaders, “I’m watching you and you need to listen to what I have to say!”
I have friends and relatives who don’t believe that voting has any impact. I get that. The politicians are bought and aren’t paying much attention to the good of the people. But it is a question of which came first. Was it voter apathy which left a vacuum which was filled by monied interests? Or was it campaign finance policies that allowed the money to talk the loudest? Either way you look at it there will be no getting back control and our voice without a concerted effort to vote.
Everybody plays a part. Do yours. If you are too young to vote at least stay informed. Volunteer your time and talk to people. When you come of age and can vote, be active and don’t let one election go by without your participation. You may think your vote isn’t listened to but trust me, when you don’t vote your silence screams that you don’t care and the politicians will listen to someone else.