A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Monday, November 5, 2012

You're Unique

Tomorrow is Election Day.  As the saying goes, it's the only poll that matters.  However, it is HIGHLY unlikely that MY vote actually counts.  Even though I live in a swing state, the margin of victory will likely be thousands of votes (whichever way my state goes tomorrow).  So why do we go to the polls when really, one vote doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things?  It seems irrational!

For example, the 538 Blog at the NY Times predicts the "Return on Investment Index" - which is the likelihood that one vote could impact the ultimate outcome of the Presidential election.  The top three are Nevada, Ohio, and New Hampshire.  I live in none of those states (and it's likely you don't either).  But I will still go to the polls along with millions of voters who live in states where the outcome is not in doubt (see: Utah).  There are probably a lot of reasons we go to the polls, but I'd like to focus on the "unique" factor.

We believe in America that one person can change the world, that one person can make a difference, that each American voice is unique and part of a great melting pot of cultural richness.  Each individual has a say in their own unique way.  I'm reminded, however, of a surly retort I used to throw at my mom as a sullen pre-teen.  She would say "remember you're unique" and I would reply "just like everyone else."  We are all unique and therefore we are all similar.  We are all Americans united in our love of country.  We argue fiercely about what America should be.  But isn't it wonderful that for the past 224 years Americans have gone to the polls and cast ballots?  This is our 57th Presidential election!  With the obviously vast exception of the civil war, Americans have settled arguments not through violence, but through a (relatively) peaceful democratic process.

We've become part of our democracy, and our vote is precious because it was fought for - in some cases in the American revolution, in some cases by the suffragettes or civil rights marchers, and in some cases it is granted through a citizenship test that we have waited and studied for over long years.  We vote because even though we know our individual vote won't make a difference, we know that the aggregate of all our votes does add up to something: a government  that is our own, that is "we the people."  Even if Obama doesn't win tomorrow, I will be proud to call America my country.  America has a long way to go towards perfection (don't we all!), but it's a beautiful land.

Don't forget to vote tomorrow.  Participate and let your voice be heard - all across this great land!

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