That’s why automobiles have steering wheels, and trains glide on pre-laid tracks and boats have sails that harness the wind. We are not content to just go. We want to have a choice in the direction.
That is why we vote. Our nation’s election process gives us the opportunity and responsibility to put our hand on the wheel. We can determine our future like the rudder can dictate the course of a sailboat on the sea.
When we take part in the political process, we know our involvement is an investment in more than ourselves as individuals. Our actions are an investment in the future direction of our country.
We have all been given the ability to convey passion, to encourage momentum rather than settle into the inertia around us, and to influence a world seemingly out of our control. We must first decide that our actions matter, and we must believe that everything we do has the potential to nudge the world in a direction of our choosing.
As Americans, we believe we can impact our future: That is why we care, that is why we question, and that is why we refuse to sit complacently by and accept an outcome we do not want.
The compass of the future is volatile and uncertain, indicating a great civil tug of war in which the country is pulled in one direction or another during tumultuous times.
It’s up to each side to present the vision that pulls those on the sidelines in. At certain times we must pull harder than others; sometimes we are expected to influence the course of the future and be the steady hand that guides our journey.
In the U.S., we do not have to settle for a direction we do not want; we can vote to redirect the future being laid out before us.
Before we can be effective, however, we must check our cynicism toward politics at the door and remind ourselves that every two years we are given the opportunity to choose new representation and, with our voices and our votes, give our nation a resurgence of the freedoms and ideals that we value as Americans.
The importance of each election cycle is up to us. Hesitation to engage in the opportunities we have to influence our future has costs. We must ask ourselves as individuals what we are willing to do to ensure our ideas and ideals emerge.
To have the greatest impact, we must join together with others who believe as we do and give of ourselves with intensity.
We must believe in each other and fully understand the choices we make. We must believe the present course is correctable. We have seen what a few can do to change the direction of our country.
It was not chance that determined the history we’ve read about or seen on television.
The fortunate among us have even seen our government improve as a result of our action.
Ronald Reagan recognized the responsibility all of us share: “Let us be sure that those who come after will say of us in our time, that in our time we did everything that could be done. We finished the race; we kept them free; we kept the faith.”