Voting is always at the forefront of my thoughts. I purposely keep it there as a reminder of the rights that I inherited through the bruises, humiliation, the tireless and sleepless nights and the brutal deaths of those who fought for me to have that right.
I often wonder do people really know or understand what they are thinking when they allow themselves to voice that my vote doesn't count, or the statement, "They're going to do what they want anyway" or "It's a waste of time" (just a few I often hear). Every time these statements are voiced or thought, a vote is cast against all those that gave their lives (on whatever level) for the gift of the vote.
So often we refer to or name the one in history or the media have put in our view as the pioneers, but how about all the names we do not know? It may even be some right in the midst of our family. For the past few months I've been trying to think of something to say that would spark a new energy to get people to know how important it is to vote. To think of all the lives that were given -- yes given, a gift (something most of us did not fight for) of love for future generations with no thought of their own lives, so that we may have that right.
But you know I have nothing new, no new quote, no poem and no catchy phrase. All I can say is, I believe with all my being and heart that it's important -- it's crucial for every man and woman of the age eighteen and above to go out and cast their vote whenever there is an election. And don't believe all the hype that local elections aren't important, they are the stones that uphold the major ones. Without a firm, solid foundation, we fall. And though some may think they are winners, none of us are when we stand by and watch our neighbors, children, and the world suffer needlessly.
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It's important for each of us to study the history of voting (this is a good opportunity to talk to older family members who may have gone through or participated in helping to bring about the right to vote). When you finish, just imagine what it would really be like if we didn't have that right. There are so many people in the world today, at this time, that do not have that right and no hope of ever being able to vote.
As I stated earlier in my thoughts, I have no new sayings, I didn't name any famous names or incidents, for I believe you know some famous, historical persons and have heard some historical incidents. My hope in writing this is that it will spark a conversation within each of you that feels voting doesn't matter, and that your vote doesn't count. I hope this will ignite a change within you that will help to encourage this generation and the next generation of voters.
In many parts of the state of Georgia, various positions are up for re-election. If you want to be heard, and want to make a change -- vote. An African proverb says, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go further, go together."
Frederick Douglass said, "A man who will not labor to gain his rights, is a man who would not, if he had them, prize and defend them."
Joyce M. Denson is a resident of Toomsboro.