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Exercising the Right to Vote and Exploring Democracy

Posted on 10/19/2020 10:47:54 AM by Evarlyne Ndeti

"Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society. Why? Because human beings are the most dynamic link to the divine on this planet." John Lewis 

As we are two weeks away from the presidential election, even though I can’t vote since I am an international student, I have been reflecting more on the special gift and privilege the Americans have of making a difference in their own country and creating a new nation through exercising their voting power. Helping at the Wolfington Center with voter engagement has truly helped me a lot and has taught me a lot about the gift of the right to vote here and throughout the world. It has also helped me reflect on my country and how I will be doing the same come 2022.

Reflecting on the United States' history and how only certain people could vote in the past pushes me to be involved with voter engagement more than anything else. America’s history has revealed many things, especially how people fought for the privilege to vote by risking and sacrificing their lives. These wonderful people should be shown love and gratitude for what they did for their nation, which can be shown by embracing the opportunity to vote whenever and wherever possible. This includes not only during major national elections but also during all local elections.

Though we typically think of voting in purely political terms, we can also think about every choice we make as a vote and every moment in our lives as an election. We vote with our bodies, energy, money, time, attention, and more. How do our choices reflect our values and our vision for the world? Exercising our right to vote and exploring democracy are ongoing opportunities that help us align our values and participate in collective decision-making while adding our individual voice to others' voices. 

Take nothing for granted, become present to that which matters most, and act accordingly in service of one and all. We can empower ourselves to elect love, belonging, reverence, and care. We can and should offer the voice of our hearts in service of meaningful change and thriving communities. 

If you are a citizen of this nation, I encourage you to use the vote411.org website or the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) website as tools to explore the 2020 election. No matter how impaired the voting process may seem this year, showing up for it matters: Indeed, it is the best way to preserve the integrity of American democracy. Explore issues of importance to you and your community, reflect on how you might vote with love, and encourage others to do the same.

Before going to vote, I invite you to reflect on the following questions: - 

  1. What matters most to you and your community, and how can you make choices in service of that? 
  2. What might you explore learning about the democratic institutions and processes in your community?
  3. How can you engage in civic activities in ways that reflect gratefulness, love, and your vision for a thriving world?

I invite you to use your power as John Lewis said and be committed to making a difference in your society because you are the most dynamic link to this divine nation. Just think of how powerful you are and approach what you can with an open, gentle, and grateful heart in making a change in your nation.