“The most important office, and the one which all of us can and should fill, is that of private citizen.” - Louis Brandeis, former Supreme Court Justice
On November 3, you and I will be among the most important people in the country. We will have the power to shape our nation’s destiny. Whether we are Republicans, Democrats, independents, or something in between, we will be a part of what Abraham Lincoln called “the chorus of the Union.” We will be exercising a privilege, a right, a freedom that people have fought for, strived for, and died for. We will be fulfilling the most important office of all.
We will be all those things – if we vote.
“Someone struggled for your right to vote. You should use it.”
- Susan B. Anthony
I still remember the first time I voted in a presidential election. It was something I had learned about in school. Something I had watched my parents do. Something I had waited years to do. As a result, there was something almost magical about the process.
As the years pass, the grit and grind of politics tends to make that magic fade somewhat. Sometimes, it’s easy to wonder if our vote even matters. But when I think of all the people in this world who still lack the right to vote, or when I see the Stars and Stripes waving in the wind, I still remember how it felt the first time I cast my ballot. The first time I had my say in setting the future of our Union.
This year, the physical act of voting will be different than ever before. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more Americans will vote by mail than any time in history. Those who still vote in person will need to wear masks, respect social distancing, and do our best to reduce the risk of catching this dreadful virus. And yet, that just makes the act of voting even more important. Because now, we’re not just choosing our leaders. We’re showing the world that nothing – not doubt, not fear, not apathy, not anything – can come between us and our commitment to our country.
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” – John F. Kennedy
The great philosopher Aristotle once said that liberty and equality are chiefly to be found in democracy, so long as all people share in the government to the utmost. That’s why the most important office is that of private citizen. That’s why so many have struggled for our right to participate in democracy. That is why we will pay any price or bear any burden.
That is why we vote.
“Just as important as how we vote is that we vote…for every time we vote, we help to make America stronger.” - Ronald Reagan
I hope you have the opportunity to cast your vote this year. Whenever you do, however you do, and for whoever you do, I hope that you can feel the magic that comes with voting. I hope you can hear what Abraham Lincoln called…
…the mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature. – Abraham Lincoln
Every four years, I do my best to listen for those chords. No matter the circumstances, I aim to hear them again this year. I hope you’ll be able to hear them, too.