Voting is more than a right; it’s certainly also privilege

As another Election Day enters the history books, I have to admit there’s nothing like watching democracy in action.
Nov 14, 2012
 Photo: Photo courtesy of Mary Hinds • The Lebanon Democrat

Mary Hinds’ daughter and 5-month-old grandson give a big thumb’s up after a successful voting experience.

As another Election Day enters the history books, I have to admit there’s nothing like watching democracy in action.
For the first time, I took Wilson County Administer of Elections Phillip Warren’s advice and cast my ballot during early voting. There was a short, fast-moving line, and everyone in it was patient and smiling.
One lady using a cane sat on a bench while others held her place in line. After voting, everyone got the “I Voted” sticker and, judging by the looks on their faces, the pride that comes with doing the right thing.
Our republic only works if the majority of people participate.
When I hear someone say they don’t vote, I can barely restrain myself from giving them a stern lecture on his or her responsibilities as a citizen. Regardless of who you vote for or which party you support, the main thing is that you care enough to be a part of the process.
Is it really too much to ask? Photos of Election Day in New Jersey captured people who stood in line to vote in a tent lit by flashlights. These are the people who know the value of their vote.  
At Sunday’s Veterans Day ceremony, there were vets, young and old, who did a lot more than stand in a line to ensure your right to vote.
If they can risk their lives for your rights, surely you can take the time out of your busy day to do the right thing.
We take a lot for granted in this country – free elections, a free press and a peaceful transition of power.
Even after the most bitterly fought campaigns, we accept the outcome. Those are the rules set out in the Constitution, and we play by them.
If President Barack Obama had lost, there would be some grumbling, but Democrats wouldn’t have barricaded themselves in the White House or tried to use the military to stay in power.
If you think that sounds farfetched, take a look at what happens in other parts of the world when the people try to change their form of government. We are the envy of the world as they try to achieve what we take for granted.
So when the next election rolls around, make sure you’re registered, and make your voice heard.
Impress upon your children the importance of voting, and they will pass it on to their children.
My mother is approaching 90, and she has always taken voting seriously. She always said, “If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain.”
One of my proudest moments was when my daughter sent me a photo of her, with my 5-month-old grandson strapped to her chest, wearing her “I Voted” sticker and giving the world a big thumb’s up.
I have high hope my grandson will continue the tradition and vote as his conscience leads him to vote.
Democracy is noisy, complicated and sometimes dirty, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Mary Hinds is a staff writer at The Lebanon Democrat. She may be reached at 615-444-3952, ext. 42 or


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