Catherine Ryan Hyde Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of more than 25 published and forthcoming books, including the bestselling When I found You, Pay It Forward, Don't Let Me Go, and Take Me With You.

           

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A Privilege, a Duty

Catherine Ryan Hyde

Tuesday.  Voting day.  Did you vote?  Are you about to vote?  Or did you already send an absentee ballot in?

Whatever our views, this is no time for apathy.  The U.S. seems to be at a turning point.  Hell, mankind seems to be at a turning point.

I think the #1 reason people don't bother to vote is discouragement.  They feel whatever they do just doesn't make enough of a difference.  But we each have one vote.  That's all the "say" we get.  We have to use it wisely.  Even the huge swing toward corporations owning the process could be reversed by individual voters. All they can do is advertise heavily--and often dishonestly--for the candidate they've "purchased."  But we don't have to believe them.  We don't have to vote for the candidate with the most money to spend.

And if you believe strongly in equality for all, our politicians need to know it.  They'll deliver equality anytime--anytime they're sure it won't lose support for their reelection, that is.  That's why voting is #3 on my list of Five Ways to Jumpstart the World.

Besides, you get to wear the little "I voted" sticker on your collar all day.  And if even one person is reminded because of you, that's double impact.

We just have to take the actions that are there to take, and not be dissuaded by likely outcomes.  I've never understood why people get so discouraged at their inability to change the world entirely that they don't try to change it at all.

Change the world a little bit.  Change it by one vote.