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Commentary: Voting is the price for freedom

Steve King
Suburbanite correspondent

The ballots have been cast and the votes have been tallied, and it's a landslide.

Everyone agrees that you – yes, you and you and you and you; really all of us – need to vote in the general election on Tuesday. We have to vote. There are no ifs, ands and buts about it.

Steve King

If you've already voted, then that's great. Same thing if you're planning to actually go to the polls in a couple of days, but be prepared to wait in line a long time.

As for the rest of you, what's wrong? What's the deal? Why aren't you voting?

Don't say it's because, I"m so busy," or, worse yet and more defiantly, "I'm too busy."

Those are both copouts, pure and simply.

First of all, we're all "so busy," That's life. Be happy that you're "so busy" because it means your life is full. A full life is a happy life. An empty life is a boring life. No one wants to be bored, so be happy you're not.

As for the other excuse, the smug, "I'm too busy," I really love that one. That's the adult version of the one excuse tied to kids, "I'm too cool for school." Really? You're "too busy?" If you're too busy to vote, then you're too busy, period. Eliminate one of the elective activities you're involved in, or perhaps two of three or four or more of them, so that you have enough time to vote. After all, there are several different ways to vote. Just find one that suits your "ultra-busy" schedule and go do it.

To do anything but that – to deem as more important silly things such as competing in your golf league, going out with your friends, polishing your truck, or any of a number of other things – is disrespectful, irresponsible, selfish, ignorant and lazy.

What if your forefathers had said, "I'm so busy," or "I'm too busy," or, "I need to work on my putting," or "I've got other things to do; just give me a minute and I'll think of a few," when duty called and the fate of both the country, and the free world, were at stake? What would have been your reaction?

You would have complained. You would have said that's the wrong thing to do. You would have begged those people to defend the country and your freedoms, and, of the course, your sacred right to party, putt and clean the whitewalls on your truck tires.

And as stupid and insignificant and haughty and self-centered as all that sounds, you would have been right. We all should have the freedom to do what we want to do, to live our life as we see fit, even if it's in a less-than-desirable way, but there's a price to pay for that, and sometimes it's as steep as the lives of servicemen, and women. Pretty thought-provoking and sobering, huh?

Voting is part of the price – it's on the sales receipt – for freedom, for without voting, there are no freedoms. It's a monarchy or a dictatorship and there will be no partying, putting or polishing if people in charge don't think it's cool.

To vote is to have an active role in government. It's your chance to make your voice heard – and yes, your voice counts and so does your vote – and when you are unwilling to be involved, you are taking from the pot of plenty and not making any donations. You become the person for whom everybody must take up the slack.

That's sad.

It doesn't matter who, or what, you vote for, or against. Again, that's one of your freedoms, to participate freely and fully in elections. Nobody is coercing you, forcing you to vote a certain way.

Indeed, we can agree to disagree on some of the candidates and issues – that's been going on since the first election ever held in this country well over 200 years ago – but we must be in agreement that there can be absolutely, positively no debate on the fact that we all must vote.

The votes are in, in that respect, and I'm calling the race right now for the importance of participating in a participatory democracy by doing something as easy and simple as casting your ballot.

So, come on, people, are you in?