Anger might’ve been the answer What if I’d hung my head And said that I couldn’t wait? But now I’m strong enough to know it’s not too late
‘Cause a thousand words Call out through the ages They’ll fly to you Even though I can’t see I know they’re reaching you Suspended on silver wings
Oh, a thousand words One thousand embraces Will cradle you Making all of your weary days seem far away They’ll hold you forever
- "1000 Words" From the video game Final Fantasy X-2
11 years ago, on September 11, 2001; thousands of lives were extinguished in an attack against the World Trade Center in New York City. While I will never forget that event – after all I watched in play out in real-time and was involved in the aftermath at Ground Zero – I don’t think I need to re-hash the events themselves here.
Instead, I want to turn my annual moment of remembrance to something that should have come from that set of events, but didn’t. It’s true, the terrorists did not win. The United States of America is still here, and despite our problems, we continue to be a strong country. However, we could be doing something more.
I’m not talking about what our elected officials should do. I don’t mean to reference what business should do.
What I want to talk about is you.
According to FactCheck.org; in the USA, in the 2008 elections – which recorded the highest voter turnout in decades – only about 62% of eligible voters actually turned out to cast ballots. This means that a huge number of citizens just decided not to vote. The founding virtue of our form of government – representative legislature – was not participated in by over one third of the citizens of that government.
We talk a lot in this country about how our lawmakers have lost touch with their constituents. We rail against the night in rallies to reform government, recall politicians who have lost their way, decry the corruption and wrongness of the system the way it is.
But, one third of us don’t even vote – and that was a Presidential election year, where a much higher percentage of people turn up at the polls than normal.
One third of eligible voters did not cast a ballot.
I think it’s time to remember that the 9-11 attacks were carried out by people who thought our freedoms, our policies, our government, and our nation are wrong. They were misguided, to say the least, and homicidal maniacs to say the truth.
And we need to prove them wrong. Right now. Today.
Go take half an hour and find out how to register to vote in your local, state and federal elections. Head over to RockTheVote.org or any other site that can show you how and where to sign up. Then go get registered. In November, exercise your Constitutional rights, and vote in the general election.
It really is as simple as that. People are fighting and dying around the world for the right to do what one third of our eligible citizens already could do, but don’t. We cannot let that continue to be the norm in this country.
Register. Vote. I cannot imagine a better way to send a message to the world that the terrorists who struck on 9-11-2001 did not win. More importantly, it will send the message that those who believe as they did cannot ever win, because we will not allow it.
This is our country, they are our leaders, and we – and only we – have the right to pick and choose them as we see fit. Send those who seek to destroy us the most powerful message imaginable, show the world that every vote counts.
But, first remember that no vote will count unless you actually cast it.