My husband and I went to see former Illinois governor, Jim Edgar speak tonight. He gave a great speech full of stories and anecdotes. I would like to share a quote from him that inspired me. He currently serves as a distinguished fellow of the Institute of Government & Public Affairs at the University of Illinois. He said that when he speaks with students today, he is filled with hope for our future. He said that most people would assume that he would want to persuade young people to be Republicans since that is his party affiliation. However, he said that he tells people, "If you're not going to be a Republican, then be a Democrat." It is such a simple statement but so very true. Voting is a privilege that we have in this country and everyone, no matter their affiliations, should participate in that process.
I heard him say that and I it stirred a memory in me. On January 30, 2005, Iraqi voters went to the polls to vote for the first time in 50 years. They dipped their fingers in ink to cast their vote. Despite threats and violence all around them, they were willing to risk their lives for the opportunity to go to the polls to vote. They left with stained fingers, proudly bearing the mark of their expression of freedom. I was inspired that day by the pictures of men and women holding up ink-stained fingers. I haven't thought of that image for quite some time but I thought of it tonight. Voting is so easy for us. We fear no violence as we go to the polls. It is easy for us. We can vote absentee, we can early vote, we can go to the polls on election day...yet so many Americans don't bother. Why? I don't have an answer but whether you're Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green, etc. we all should exercise that right and cast a ballot on November 4th!