A few years back I decided to change my party affiliation so that I would have the opportunity to actually have a little more 'say' in the Democratic process that our country embraces. Truth be told I really don't believe in the two-party system but as they say "old habits are hard to break" so our country hangs onto the system like a dog with a favorite chewed-up-worn-out-shadow-of-its-former-self slipper.
Having just said that, I can hear my good friend Cyndi out in California tapping out my phone number so that she can call and give me a good blast - we have A LOT of political discussions, especially around the time of major elections, but she's much more passionate about politics than I am. I am, however, a registered voter (have been since I was a teen) and I take my responsibilties as one quite seriously.
That said, because I live in the grand old State of Connecticut which is overrun with Democrats it made sense to register in that Party as they're the ones that seem to always have primaries - especially here in Norwich. Apparently the Republicans in this State can't seem to muster the interest to even have two candidates oppose each other. It's kind of sad but points to why I think that the two-party system needs to be laid to rest. Granted, there are arguments that the two-party system provides a more stable form of government but I just don't think it leaves much room for free-thinkers. And free-thinkers were a major part of the foundation that this country was built upon.
I'm not going to get up on a political soapbox and start preaching about how I think that politicians should be able to follow their own minds and the voices of their constituency rather than their party lines for fear of losing their party's endorsements and financial backing - I'm sure that there are any number of political blogs out there where you can find that sort of rhetoric and more - but I am going to say that I think that it's very important for people to take part in the voting process itself. A lot of people lost their lives throughout history so that we have this opportunity and I believe that it's our duty as American citizens to exercise that right.
This is something that I have tried to instill in my children - at least those that are either a) old enough to vote or b) at all interested in what it means to vote. When Michael became of voting age I made sure that he got himself down to the Registar's Office and gave himself a voice (a small voice, yes, but a voice nonetheless) and when Amanda and Jamie get to be old enough, I shall do the same with them. At the rate I'm going I may be wheelchair-bound or using a walker but, either way, if I have to drag them down there myself it shall be done!
If we don't vote, we have no right to complain about our government or the people who run it. If we don't vote, we have no right to complain about our taxes. If we don't vote, we have no right to complain that our country appears to be going to hell in the proverbial handbasket. It is up to us as Americans to pay some attention to the issues, to pay some attention to the candidates, and to pay some attention to what the people we're sending to Washington to represent us are doing once they get there.
Just remember - as Abraham Lincoln stated in his Gettysburg Address on November 19th, 1863, ours is a "government of the people, by the people, for the people" and it's up to us as good citizens to ensure that the right people are running it.
Did you vote?? I did.