How's your CITIZEN's voice?

Last week I wrote about your Jewish Voice. We all have also a Citzen's Voice: it is called a VOTE. So why it is so important to vote? Does our vote make any difference? What's the point?

Let me start by telling you about me. In 1989, when I was leaving Argentina, the country was holding Presidential elections. I stayed an extra week so I could vote. Why did I do it? Because I believe we all have an obligation to express our opinion about Government. Yes, it is a lot more fun to sit at a cafe and argue to no end with friends about it, but our vote is the kind of opinion that REALLY matters to politicians.

You see, contrary to the public (cynical) opinion, elected officlas are not out ONLY to stay in power. They do care (passionately) about their political beliefs of where the country should (or should not) go. Our vote is a way of telling them "yes, I agree" or "no, I disagree". 

Lately, however, elected officials appear to have forgotten that building bridges with the "other" side is the best way to get things done. These days, politicians seem to spend a LOT more time demonizing the other side than expressing their own convictions, and this is not because of the election year. We know very well that this has been going on, at this point, for years.

As a citizen, today, I believe that our country needs to pull back from the abyss of polarization and find ways to work together to bring back the America we all believe in: A tolerant, productive, caring society. A society in which expressing your opinion is not an invitation to be targetted by those who dissagree with you but an invitation to a civil productive dialogue.

This past week, we came together with members of the Muslim community of the CSRA to begin a process of building bridges. The program left me with a warm, nice, feeling, and the impression that we are at the gates of a momentous change where we will be able to work together to improve this, larger community in which we all live.

And there is another aspect to voting. Going back to 1989, I did stay that extra week and casted my vote gainst Carlos Menem, because based on his track record as Governor of La Rioja I was convinced he was corrupt, vengeful, and somebody who was going to put his own interest before the interest of his supporters, and the interest of his supporters before the interests of the country. The end of the story is that Menem won... does that mean my vote didn't count? - my vote DID count, first and foremost to myself. I not only fulfilled my citizen's obligation to participate, but also my personal detrmination to stay true to my convictions.

If you are not registered to vote, time is running out - REGISTER. If you are already registered and feel strongly about what is a stake - PARTICIPATE. Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people. In order to work, it needs every one of us.


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