I am a voter. Are you?

Look. I’m not going to sugar coat it.

We need to vote.

Every. Single. One. Of. Us.

No exceptions.

Voting is a civic responsibility enshrined in each of us by our constitution. It’s one of the responsibilities that makes our land the land of opportunity.

As Stephen Colbert said in an interview with Oprah Winfrey:

I’m always hopeful for this country because our country remains the last best hope of mankind. And it is already great. This is a great country. This was a great country in the heart of the Depression. This was a great country when we were torn apart by the Civil War and Civil Rights [Era]. It was a great country because we are based on a harrowing idea, a harrowing challenge, that we imperfectly embody at all times, which is that all men are created equal and that they have equal access to justice and to prosperity. And as long as that idea does not disappear, as long as our Constitution is not changed from that idea (and of course the non-Constitutional inspirational document like the Declaration of Independence), as long as we always keep that, there will be good presidents and there will be bad presidents, there will be good Congresses and bad Congresses, there will be a good judiciary and a bad judiciary, but if we can all agree on that thing, then America will always be the last best hope of mankind. Because every bit of darkness is only for now. The light always wins.

Voting is how we help the light win. (And let me be clear: lightness is not a partisan quality. I believe that every elected official, Republicans and Democrats and everyone in between, has the ability to use their power to bring light into the world.) But being a voter is not a once-every-four-years identity that we only assume when necessary. Quite the opposite, in fact: being a voter means paying attention to issues and elected officials year-round. It may seem like an unnecessarily stress-inducing way to live your life, but it’s impossible to be a fully-informed voter one day every 4 years. You can’t cram for the exam of democracy.

Instead, all of us have to be voters 365 days a year. While it would be unreasonable (and impossible) for everyone to eat, breathe, and sleep news media 24/7, there is something to be said for having a clue about what’s going on in our wild world rather than being complacent in willful ignorance.  Ignorance is dangerous. Ignorance is scary. Some say ignorance is bliss, but in reality ignorance is a dark room that’s cold and lonely and haunting. It allows us to assume that everything in the world is one way when in fact it is entirely different. Ignorance is easy. Ignorance is comfortable. Ignorance is damaging & in some ways more harmful did the people who thrive on the very ignorance they perpetuate.

 In my opinion every citizen of the United States should have a basic understanding of current events. And because nothing in the world exists in a vacuum, I think pop culture and politics and and technology and literature and social media and print media  and so many other aspects of our culture are all interconnected in a way that influences the finer nuances of existing in today’s society.  So to be a voter I think it’s important to pay attention to what Kanye says in his latest album and what Kim re-tweeted on Twitter because whether we want to believe it or not, seemingly superfluous things do actually have a major impact on our lives in ways we might not ever expect. 

To be voters, we have to stay engaged with the world around us. 

 To be voters, we must refuse to stick our heads in the sand.  

To be voters, we must stand tall and proud but not too proud to roll up our sleeves, look our country square in the eye, and realize all of its flaws and faults.

To be voters,  we must think critically about what we want our country to be, who we want to lead it, and what kinds of things we believe those leaders will do to make our vision of America a reality. 

So it is with great pride that I say, “I am a voter.”

Are you?