As a young girl I recall my Daddy getting so frustrated with my Granddaddy when he would talk politics. Granddaddy followed the party line and he preached it as well, as best I remember, anyway.
He strongly influenced where my cousins and I attended school just because he disagreed with the county government over where they built a school. The interesting thing is, the school for that area is now built right where Granddaddy thought it should stand way back when.
Even though my Daddy eventually became much like Granddaddy and followed a party line, early on he taught me to research and learn about each candidate. He taught me to look at years of service and how he/she had voted if they were incumbents. He taught me to look at which committees the incumbent had served as a member or leader. He taught me to become familiar with the issues and weigh the positives and negatives - not just blindly follow a candidate. And I always have.
As I reached adulthood - or what legally was considered adulthood, my Daddy stressed to me how important it is that I vote. He always promoted the idea that as a woman I could do anything a man could do and when it came to voting, he stressed the importance of taking advantage of that right. He talked to me about how people had fought and died to give me the privilege of voting. He talked to me about how women fought to be granted the right to vote. He explained that it an obligation of mine as a citizen of this country to vote and let my voice be heard. He talked about how laws were made and that we relied on the people we elected to make those laws, see that those laws were upheld, and update the laws when needed.
As a result of the influence of these two men, probably, I have voted almost every single opportunity I was provided. (There may have been a couple of times when I was younger that I didn't vote but I don't recall for certain.) At any rate, I usually participate in early voting or absentee voting. I'm not a patient person and I don't like to wait in line for anything. I do it at times out of necessity at the Post Office, the DMV, or the doctor's office or someplace like that but I really try to plan and work out ways that I don't have to wait in line.
This year I was determined to absentee vote by mail just because of all the hullabaloo that has arisen about it and because I wanted to keep my husband and family safe. So, Mike and I sat down and requested the absentee ballot be mailed to us. The day after it arrived in our mailbox, we sat down and filled it out and the day after that, we put it in the mailbox at the end of the driveway and lifted the flag to signal the postal carrier to pick it up. After a few days, I began checking the website to see if they had received and posted our vote. Friday, I saw that they did.
All of this to say that our government system may be broken in many ways. We may be living in uncertain times by some measures. However, if we want to make a difference, we all need to vote. Early voting is happening right now in most places. Here in Tennessee, early voting is available until October 29. If you can, I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity. If not, just be sure you get to the polls on election day.
Voting is a privilege that everyone else in other countries might not enjoy. Voting is an obligation to help uphold this country of which you are fortunate enough to be a citizen. Voting is the most important thing we as citizens can do to make our wishes known and see that our lawmakers and leaders recognize that we support them and influence them.