Gratitude And Responsibility

In one week Americans will head to the polls to cast their votes. Given the unprecedented incivility, angst, and bitter words we have been subjected to during this entire election cycle, it is especially important that we take time to reflect before casting our votes next Tuesday.

Never before in modern history have we, the people, been faced with the choice between two presidential candidates with such high disapproval ratings. A more bitter, nasty election cycle would be hard to find. But we cannot let that be the reason or excuse to not go to the polls and cast our votes.

Despite what the pundits and the press would lead us to believe, every vote does count. And if you take a moment to reflect on our country's history, from our founding fathers' words in the Declaration of Independence to the principles laid out in our Constitution with its guarantee of universal suffrage, we each have a duty to go to the polls and cast our votes.

There are millions of people around the world who have never been given the opportunity, let alone the right, to have a say in who will lead their country. It is one of the reasons that people seek to come to the United States; to have the freedom to participate in our democracy at the local, state and national levels. Voting is both a privilege and part of the solemn bond that binds our country together.

While many are unhappy with the choices that await them at the voting booth, who you vote for and why is your business: what matters is that you vote. And as a country, after the votes are counted and the winner announced - just as Americans have done for over 200 years - we will accept the outcome of the election and move forward.

It doesn't mean we'll agree with the President on everything, even if the winner is the candidate of our choice. We are blessed to have the freedom of disagree, to put forth our own ideas and to work with our elected officials at all levels to forge common ground.

Men and women have fought and died to protect our way of life, our freedoms and our democracy. We owe it to their sacrifice, just as we owe it to future generations, to carry on America's democratic tradition of a peaceful transfer of power.

As Americans, at the end of the day, we have the responsibility that freedom gives each of us to cast our vote. And, I for one, am very grateful for the opportunity to do just that. I hope you, too, feel the responsibility and the gratitude.