Of all our national holidays, why isn’t Election Day one of them? Election Day is Tuesday, November 6th this year but the dream of a “day off” will have to be realized at a future date, hopefully sooner rather than later. Some states have early voting and all have absentee voting for people unable to vote in person for a variety of reasons ranging from military deployment to illness and business travel. That said, why isn’t Election Day a national “day off?” Granted, some business and institutions, such as hospitals need to be fully staffed around the clock, but on election day shifts need to be split so no one is denied the opportunity of “time” to cast their own vote. Citizens may not focus on the issue of voting as intently as we all should, which is half the problem in a nutshell, but your vote as an American is inarguably the most precious and valuable thing you possess as an American citizen.
We’ve witnessed a lot of shallow-thinking efforts to suppress the vote among minorities, seniors and college aged students, most of which is paranoia-driven by groups of people mired in the past. Suppression efforts are a counter-productive effort by a frightened sector of the population who fear the “browning” of America. America is a diverse nation of divergent races, colors, religions, creeds and ethnic origins. Although it has historically been at times a very messy transition, diversity is what defines us at our finest. It’s only natural for human subdivisions to blend over time. Efforts by some to deny any citizen his or her right to vote signifies nothing more than death throes bellowing out from people clinging to an ideological past. We need to look toward the future. Races will mix, as will ethnicity’s and peoples of different faiths or lack thereof. In some cases it will be marriages and the children born to those couples. In other cases it may be neighborhoods taking on a level of diversity once considered unthinkable. But for anyone who resists this vital element of change, the reality is this: That change is already well underway and anyone who tries to resist it or prevent it will find themselves sitting squarely on the wrong side of history. America IS the great “melting pot” and therein lays our strength as a nation.
Every single individual of eligible age and citizenship, by birth or naturalization must register, exercise and cherish their opportunity to vote. Any group or individual who actively pursues tawdry illegal remedies and cheap stunts to block people from exercising their rights, quite simply put, fails bay all definitions to be patriotic. Race has always been a contentious issue in the American struggle toward equality, often as a result of “hand me down” prejudices learned long before a person is even of voting age. Those divisions which separate us are both real and imaginary. Yes, we are of different skin colors and reared under different spiritual persuasions, but that isn’t the point. There is one race that matters, and it’s not any particular political race: It’s the human race. I highly recommend everyone make a concerted effort to join the human race, and the best possible starting point is for each and every American to respectfully cast their vote unencumbered by discord and petty prejudice. A national “day off” for each and every one of us to cast that vote is the first step toward uniting us as one people. Pass along the idea of “Day Off 4 Voting Day” to everyone you can, and together we’ll fulfill our destiny as the example of what every country should aspire to achieve: Righteousness in the spirit of fairness and equality for all, distilled into our own single precious vote during a special, annual day off.