Usually, when people ask me what I’m thankful for this time of year, I respond with those things I try my hardest not to take for granted – health, family, friendship, success. But this November gives us the opportunity to be thankful for something a little different, something we should never take for granted (though, sadly, a lot of people do).
I’m talking about the right to freely and peacefully choose our representatives in government. I know we’re told this every voting cycle, but I think the events of this summer and fall, both around the world and here at home, really highlight just how vital this right is to our way of life.
Just look to Egypt, or Libya, or Syria to see what people are willing to endure for the freedom we enjoy every day. The protests happening in our own country, the rise of new political parties and movements -- all are carried out by people who feel disenfranchised. Whatever your politics, you have to admit it’s an exciting time to be alive, and one in which we should be thankful we can make our voice be heard through votes.
Often, local elections, especially ones held in non-presidential years, experience the lowest voter turnout. This is ironic given the amount of influence local elections have over voters’ lives. The president and Congress may get the most news coverage, but the folks we put into local office influence those things that touch our lives every day – roads, parks, property taxes. The list goes on and on.
So this November, when your thoughts turn to what you are truly thankful for, remember the simple, profound and powerful right to freely elect those whom you want in government. It’s not universal, but it is universally desired. Show just how much it means to you and get out to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Afterward, come to City Hall and let me know what you think. I’d love to have you.
Mayor Joe Lockwood