There are many times, and many instances, where the democratic process in our country can feel frustrating -- or even like an insurmountable obstacle to change. But, the opportunity to cast a vote and make your voice heard directly to our government is a unique and important part of being an American citizen -- and, more times than not, even one vote can make a huge difference in how our nation is led, how our laws are shaped, and how our future looks.
In Ancient Athens, the people didn’t rely on a dictator or oligarchy. Instead, they ruled themselves through an initial form of the democracy our American experiment built and expanded on. Just like in our system, voting was the most vital part of political involvement. The biggest difference between our form and theirs is that they used stones when they cast their votes and we use paper when we cast ours. Regardless, the ability and right to vote was one of the most important and sacred parts of their democratic system. It is equally important in our own.
In more modern times, fights over rights and laws are some of the most contentious when it comes to encouraging (or discouraging) voting. In the early 60s, the movement for Civil Rights began to gain support from America’s society at large. But, the Jim Crow laws and segregation of black and white people conflicted with the increasingly progressive feelings many held. The answer was to vote. People across the country used their votes to select representatives who agreed with the need for civil rights. The voices of the many, using their vote to fight for what they believed in, help push America into a necessary, and better, direction.
In any fight for justice that America has seen, voting has been an essential part of creating real change and real action. No other forms of government allow the collective individual to change the government itself. That’s why America’s democracy -- and the importance of voting -- is so incredible. It’s hard to argue that voting doesn’t have an impact on policy when it’s clear that laws are shaped and changed and born from movements that push their followers to vote for the goals they want -- and it’s even harder to argue voting doesn’t matter when there are so many that try their hardest to take that right away. As our country grows more tumulus, more bi-partisan, more divided, it has become more important than ever that the right to vote being utilized to help secure a better future.