A Right and A Responsibility!

Posted by on Nov 4, 2014 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

This is a column I wrote for the Newberry Observer back in 2010. It is applicable for today! Enjoy!

McKnight 0001

I am so excited for November 2nd to get here, I can’t hardly wait! It is, after all one of my favorite things in life. On November 2nd I get to go stand in line, get my ballot, go into my private little booth—how exciting is that—and making sure no one sees what I am marking. I get to have my say.


The thing is, I’m not just excited for November 2nd because of the present dissatisfaction with the direction in America and our government. I am excited because this is something that I was raised to deem important. In my family voting was never questioned. It was something you did because you were an American. It is, after all our right and our responsibility.


When we are given such a huge gift, such as freedom we are then responsible to take care of that gift. This was not preached to us but lived out. My grandparents and parents got excited about voting. They paid attention to the news. They discussed politics. Then, they made the best decision they could and they voted.


I remember a conversation between my Grandpa Jones and my Dad. Grandpa was probably in his early 80’s and he was concerned about the direction of the country. He commented that he just wanted to leave a better place for his grandchildren. He wondered if he had done enough to ensure that. He was born in 1905 so he had seen hard times. He had seen good government leaders and bad ones. He had voted a lot. But he still felt the responsibility. Overheard conversations like that one really make an impression.


I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to vote. When Ronald Reagan died I sat on my couch and cried while I watched the news coverage. My niece sat with me and watched me cry. I could tell she didn’t understand what Aunt Miriam was so sad about. “Ronald Reagan was the first President I ever voted for,” I explained. “He was a real American hero.”


Even at her young age she understood. Her parents believe in voting too, you see. Now my nieces and nephews, several in their teens, are anxiously awaiting the day when they can vote.


One thing that is so amazing to me is that it doesn’t matter if you are rich, poor, black, white, red, brown, or yellow. If you are an American and 18 you can vote. Even if you are living in Thailand you can get an absentee ballot and vote. Why wouldn’t you?


It doesn’t matter if you live in South Dakota, South Florida, or South Carolina. You can live on the coast or in the forgotten middle of the country. You can live in Manhattan, New York or Manhattan, Kansas. You can be unemployed or the CEO of a mega-manufacturing plant. It doesn’t matter. If you have registered to vote, you just show up at the polling booth and have your say.


As a nurse, I have worked some voting days. I would vote absentee. I loved the fact that poll workers would even bring ballots to those patients who couldn’t get out of the hospital.


So, there really is no excuse. I hope that people do vote. I hope everyone goes out and votes, even if you cancel my vote. It will give you the right to complain. If you haven’t registered, here’s an idea. Why don’t you go do it on November 2nd. Then next time there is an election you will be ready and waiting! Just like me.