Voting: Your Right and Responsibility

Protest Art on display at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Since we are heading to the polls in a couple of days, I decided to share a two-minute video reminding Americans why we must vote. In the video, my 83-year-old relative recounts her experience with attempted voter suppression and finally casting her first vote for U.S. President.

I’ve heard far too many “reasons” people don’t vote or didn’t vote in this or that election. As Cousin Marie declares, “your vote is where your rights are.” A decision not to vote may eventually lead to revocation of certain rights.

Despite the struggle between Democrats and Republicans that is constantly thrown in our faces, your vote should not be about party affiliation or who makes the most noise. Make an effort to ignore what one candidate or political party says about the other. Avoid the all-day news commentary. Steer clear of social media. Make time to research each candidate for yourself. Take notes. Make lists. Think about what you want for our country, and vote for the individuals whose actual values most align with your own principles–hopefully, principles rooted in love for humanity. Pay attention to what they do, not just what they say.

In short, as my friend Uzoma O. posted as his Facebook status recently:

Stop being Democratic or Republican. Be honest. Have morals. Show empathy. Value integrity. Be a good human.

If it all still sounds like noise to you, vote anyway.

I’ll spare you the lecture on how many people fought and died for our right to vote.  I realize our right to vote includes our right not to vote, but I hope you choose the former. Why? Because beyond being a right, voting is also a civic and sacred responsibility.

In his sermon this weekend, my pastor reminded the congregation that in voting we comply with two of the directives of Micah 6:8–to act justly and love mercy. In voting, we raise our voices, protest, and do our part to right societal wrongs. We stand up for social justice and we work to make compassion and kindness part of our personal and national character.

There’s too much at stake this election season. Your vote–your voice–is far more powerful than silence. Nothing is gained through inaction.

14 thoughts on “Voting: Your Right and Responsibility

  1. Christine Brooks says:

    I am so pleased to have been able to vote by mail, early. I really hope that I get counted.
    It angers me to no end: 1. the ones who can vote and don’t and 2. the others who try and aren’t counted.
    It is up to all of us to encourage everyone to vote and demand that all votes are counted. The people before us fought hard for that right and we must honor them for their bravery and make our voices heard.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. franhunne4u says:

    YES, go voting whenever you can. Dare to make a decision! Don’t be a coward. Stand behind your principles by voting for them. When you believe in democracy being the best form of rule for a state, do not shy away from the responsibility to go and make a decision.
    Love your pastor, Chandra, and I am not even very religious.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. louise237 says:

    Very interesting post, Chandra! I learned a lot via the video… I have always considered voting as a right and a duty, which should be extended to any person in the World… Your friend’s Uzoma status has my 100% approval.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Deb Breton says:

    That’s what my mom would say too – if you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain! But boy does that piss me off about them ripping up her vote, or potentially losing her job. I am so sick of old white men and their hatred, vote them out!!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Deb Breton says:

        I just started reading We Are Not Afraid: The Story of Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney, and the Civil Rights Campaign for Mississippi. I was in Florida at the time of de-segregation, what I saw ruined me on the south. coming from a military family, we saw everyone the same. But when my parents retired to FLA, it was horrible. I never saw people treat one another like I did there. The south still feels toxic to me because of that experience of growing up there. But I have faith in these kids, that’s the world I want to live in. I feel badly that we have left such shit for them… And I feel badly for what all these WHITE people have done and are doing. It hurts to be human sometimes…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Chandra Lynn says:

        So much here to respond to. But Florida. Meh. Lived there for 6 years. I left for the very reasons you infer. The South is really no more toxic than other parts of the country. Is the racism more overt? Perhaps, in some areas… But there’s some value in that. You know exactly what you’re dealing with and how to respond. Yes, it hurts to be human sometimes.

        Like

      • Deb Breton says:

        Okay, I know I went on a rant, sorry about that. I will say that here in California it is live and let live, at least in San Francisco and the North bay area. It’s so different from the rest of the states. Can’t wait for the day we don’t judge anyone by skin color, sexuality, religion, etc. If you’re kind-you’re kind, and if you’re a jerk-you’re a jerk. You know what I mean? Sounds so simple, but why is it so hard?Just treat others the way you would like to be treated…. But I digress. I’m a hopeless hippie-PEACE ✌and LOVE❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Chandra Lynn says:

        I’m a hopeless hippie too [in my heart, at least]. LOL. I agree California is another country when it comes to these issues. One of my brother lives in San Fran. He’s also on the art scene (photography)–say Hi to him for me. I’m with you. Love for all, but we have to do the soul work to get there. Generally, people don’t want to put in the work. No apology necessary. Reasoned rants always welcome. 🙂

        Like

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