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We live in a democracy and that means we get a say in who runs our country and, by way of this privilege, we also get a say about how our country is run.

It is easy to be casual about the right to vote and think, “Whatever, who cares,” but don’t brush off this honor. Registering can be a pain and take time, but you need to realize that these are small sacrifices to pay for the right to vote. In some countries, the citizens are literally dying to be able to cast a ballot and make a difference.

Young voters should cast a vote because the biggest election issues often directly affect the youth of our nation. The war in Iraq, education funding in post-secondary and public schools, employment and job training programs are just a few of the topics that directly affect the quality of your life right now. Think about the future and the world you will one day “inherit.” You can add environmental concerns, fossil fuel consumption, farming . . . the list goes on. Don’t vote and you throw away your ability to have an influence on your world.

The only way democracy works is when citizens, young and old, are active participants. A government of the people, by the people, for the people can’t work without the people. A car without an engine, or a democracy without voters is just a shell and has no power. While it is easy to say, “One vote doesn’t make a difference,” the reality is that every vote counts. Remember that your vote may seem to be just a whisper, but when your vote is combined with the votes of others who share your views it becomes a powerful statement.

If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain about government decisions you don’t like. It is disgusting to those of us who do vote to hear the ramblings on the current government coming from the mouths of eligible voters who never bother to cast a ballot. If you don’t vote, it is like saying you don’t care how our country is run.

Remember that we are never too old to vote. I want to make sure there will be a Calhoun County for my descendants. We have a corner of this earth that is becoming more attractive to outsiders. We hear every week that our way of life is something to cherish. We have the obligation to check the candidates and vote for the persons who are energetic enough to fulfill our dreams.

Finally, you should vote because you can. This is a tremendous gift. Our ancestors shed blood for this right. It is a right that so many people in democratic nations take for granted. You should vote, because if you don’t, you may one day wake up in a country where you can’t. It can and has happened.


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