We do not live in an ideal world. Most of what we endure on a daily basis is less than what we would optimally desire. The rent has to be paid. Groceries are expensive. Schoolwork can be boring. People get sick and die. Dogs bark at night and the car behind us often honks before the light turns green. Especially at the voting booth, the list of candidates frequently doesn’t include anyone we are really very wild about.
But vote we must, because as citizens we are called upon to make hard choices in order to perpetuate this still experimental system we tolerate and call democracy. We realize as adults that the people we elect to run our governments at all levels are mere mortals, like ourselves, and that like us they too make mistakes.
In a sense, the choices we make when we vote are about selecting the least-worst among many known or suspected evils. Which of the candidates is the most truthful liar? Whose exaggerations are the smallest? Whose record has the fewest flaws? Who is closest to even lightly touching our views on key issues?
It’s not about who looks the most like us in age, race, gender or sexual orientation or who is cutest or funniest. It’s about human beings minimizing the damage about to be done during the next election cycle.
The point of this recitation is to remind ourselves that the obligation to vote is not a casual or optional exercise in virtue identification. Simply because no one issue or cause or candidate perfectly answers our expectations is no excuse to stay home.
As a non-party-affiliated moderate, I am usually the victim of huge frustration when I vote. Yet I have this to share with the fellow middle-of-the-roaders: If you are a U.S. citizen and will be at least 18 years old on Election Day, Nov. 6, you are eligible to vote and you should, but you must first register. The deadline to register to vote in this very important next election is Oct. 9. In other words today.
A Texas Voter Registration Application form is available, postage paid, at the circulation desk in the Richland College library and in the Chronicle newsroom. Pick one up.
It takes about three minutes to fill out the postcard and drop it in a mailbox. Mailers must be post marked no later than midnight Oct. 9.
You can also register online at www.votetexas.gov. Registration ends at midnight.
Next, go online and find your neighborhood precinct voting location (it depends on your address) and go there with your driver’s license to vote between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
To avoid standing in line that day, or if you feel you will somehow be too busy, you can vote in person at any early voting location in Dallas County between Oct. 22 and Nov. 2, including Guadalupe Hall on the Richland campus. For lots of people, early voting is the best way to be sure they fulfill their responsibility as American citizens.
Regardless of when you vote, first do some homework. Then go into the voting booth prepared to vote and, maybe prepared to be a little disappointed on election night.
Finally, go home proud and resolute in your dedication about why you went there in the first place.