Election Day is tomorrow. It is a day we have been waiting for since the primary began a year and half ago. America has been in full tumult swinging back and forth between candidates, riding the roller coaster of emotions as new information surfaced. And just like generations before us, we will go to the polls tomorrow to vote a new set of American leaders into office.
This is not a post telling you who to vote for — though I have a definite idea of how you should vote. Rather, this is a post calling all Americans to vote and to have hope.
The incredible thing about America is the fact that we have a say in who our next leaders will be. One of the most frustrating conversations I have had over my lifetime is with people who tell me their vote does not matter. They feel as though the system is set against them and that we will get the same results regardless of whether they vote. And sure, I can see how people can say that. Growing up in a solidly blue state, it was a constant uphill battle and seemingly futile mission to change policies because, no matter what, nothing changed. But that doesn’t mean we should not vote. In this election, when there are so many “swing states,” even including many states that are usually counted red or blue, every vote matters.
Our founders and their descendants over the last 240 years have fought for our ability to vote. Men and women have died for our freedom so we can make our voices heard in the public square and in ballot boxes across the country — freedoms that no terrorist threat can take away. Our political responsibilities are serious. As Pope Francis has said, “Citizens cannot be indifferent to politics: None of us can say ‘I have nothing to do with this, they govern.’ No, No, I am responsible for their governance. I have to do the best so they can govern well; I have to do my best by participating in politics according to my ability. I cannot wash my hands, eh? We all have to give something.”
And so as we pray, discern our vote, and make our voices heard tomorrow, remember that the sun will rise on Wednesday, new life will continue to come into the world, and a being higher than us maintains control.
And as a tribute to those who have come before us and those who make us strong, I offer the following reflection:
In response to the promise of liberty, opportunity, justice, and freedom of religion, we left our native lands which we loved so dearly and, coming from the farthest corners of the world, we arrived in America. We fished in her waters, farmed her fields, worked in her factories, sold her products, and realized that here in this beautiful land we had fulfilled our hopes and dreams for ourselves and our children. Now united as one people, we work toward our goal of living as equal Americans. God bless America and the people who made her strong. -John J. Powers
Let us go forward tomorrow and in the days following, working to make America strong so that here in this beautiful land we can continue to live in freedom.
Editor’s Note: The reflection above was written by the author’s grandfather and stands as a memorial in The Valley of the Temples cemetery in Kaneohe, Hawaii, for those who gave their lives for their country and military veterans.
Mary Powers is a young professional living and working in Washington, DC.