The power is in your hands

Election Day 2014 is one week away and if you haven’t already cast a ballot, now’s your chance to make your voice heard.

Voting for the candidates of your choice is more than pulling a lever or filling in an oval on your ballot – it’s taking an active role in shaping the future of our county, state and nation.

We’ve said it before, but an active, engaged and informed electorate is critical if our democracy is to work. Those of us who vote are actually staking a claim in our collective future.

Over the years, however, some elections have seen less than impressive numbers when it comes to voter turnout.

It doesn’t make sense given the opportunities most of us have to cast a ballot either on the day of the election or via absentee ballot or early voting.

Choosing not to vote means you’re ignoring your civic responsibility and therefore, you’ve given up any right to complain later when you’re frustrated or concerned about your government.

We should all remember the sacrifices of those patriots who fought for our freedoms more than 230 years and secured our independence from the British monarchy

Don’t forget the men and women in our armed forces who have fought or are fighting today in maintaining our personal freedoms.

And finally, think about those who live around the globe who have no such say in government or stand in line for days, sometimes at a great personal cost, just to cast a ballot. Picture those in Afghanistan or other third-world countries who cheerfully stood in line, voted and dyed their thumb purple as a sign of their role in voting in their elections.

We need to remember that when we cast a ballot and ignore the political rhetoric and other distractions that have polluted our television airwaves for months.

Study the issues, pick your candidates and vote – it’s the right thing to do; it’s the American thing to do.