As I walked out of the polling place this morning, a man checked my name off a little list and said, “Thank you for voting.” It was as if I was a veteran who laid her life on the line in service to her country and he, a representative of a grateful nation. Or a child who put her toys away like a good girl, so Daddy said thank you to encourage such behavior.
I was indignant.
I wanted to say, “Who are you to thank me? I am not doing this to satisfy anyone else’s expectations, and it’s none of your business whether I vote or not. I am doing it for myself. This is my chance to make my will known. You have no right to look benevolently on me, and pat me on the head for participating. We are peers in this process; one man – one vote.”
We should thank our founding fathers that the country was built on that premise. That after a rocky start, it now actually MEANS that each and every citizen, man and woman, is afforded the same right.
Americans should not be encouraged to vote. That implies that the voter is doing a favor for a faceless, nebulous “someone.” Maybe if we had to risk life and limb to be heard, as is still the case in many parts of the world, we would more deeply cherish a right won at a high cost in blood, treasure and tears.
It’s a hokey old saying that still holds true: voting is a privilege. Those who don’t appreciate that fact should stay home.