Optional Patriotism

(Let me preface here, the blog will not deteriorate to a purely political blog, this is a mere post on something that has bothered me) 

Congratulations, America, we made it through another contentious election cycle. A nearly two year non stop blow out on National television with over a billion (YES BILLION) dollars spent on each side. There are many complaints I have to level on the process, political parties, and candidates, but the people who have frustrated me, above and beyond all else, this cycle are the voters.

As I have shared with many of you, election day is an extremely sacred day to me. It is as big as any holiday or any other experience for me. Nothing is more sacred to illustrate your love of country and community then lend your opinion as to how it will be run. Anyone who did not vote, I simply have no tolerance for. You have no right to complain about anything public in life if you do not vote. It is such a simple act. How could you not do it.

Voting takes minimal effort, standing in line and using your brain to make a decision. You do this getting your morning coffee or ordering lunch. Now, I will grant you it takes a significantly higher mental capacity, but the general premise is the same. So, that leads me to the next set of questions. Do you vote only every 4 years? Every 2? Did you know that more than likely there is an election every single year in your community? Often there is a primary in the Spring as well.

Please do not act holier than thou that you voted on a Presidential election. While it is a phenomenal act for you to vote, you NEED to do it in every election. For example in the 2011 election in Ohio there was Issue 2 which said that a no vote would repeal an anti-public union law in the state. Turn out was incredibly low, but the issue repealed the bill. I supported the repeal, but it still is ridiculous that not more people came out. Also, in Dayton, where I voted, two city commission members were up for election along with I believe a handful of school board seats. They might not seem vital, but these people are the most direct link to how educated your children are, how well kept your streets are, and how safe your neighborhoods are. It is critical to not forget the importance of your voice in the local community!

Now time to turn to another bothersome aspect of our electorate. To those of you who did not have the candidate you pulled the lever for win, I am truly sorry. I have been on both ends of elections that I have voted in and I promise you it is not fun to be on the losing side. Take some time to mourn your loss….ok now you are done. America is not about being pissed your candidate lost, it is about uniting to create a better country. There is so much to do rather than complain about losing.

Get out and canvass next cycle. Hit up a phone bank. Wear a button. Be informed on the issues and discuss with those around you. Call your representative in Congress. Call the Statehouse. Call City Hall. Citizenship is not a passive act, you must be engaged in order to really make a difference.

Patriotism is not something you can just show on Memorial Day or 4th of July. It is not something you can express just suddenly at election time. It is IMPERATIVE to live it out every day by being engaged in the world around you. Let us not forget, in honor of Veteran’s Day, those who have given us so much. We live in a safer and more prosperous world due to their sacrifice. A great way to honor their memory and sacrifice is to vote in every, single election. As an American citizen, patriotism is not an option.

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