Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Voting with More than a Ballot

ELECTION DAY! This morning on my way to work, I dropped my completed ballot in the mailbox. Although I am a registered Washington state voter which means I must vote absentee, sometimes I wish I could go to the polls because there’s just something more momentous about waiting in line and voting in a booth.

When voting is as easy as making selections and dropping my ballot in a mailbox, I almost forget what a privilege it is to vote. Although I see voting as a critical part of civic responsibility, I also don’t think it’s enough to limit my sense of citizenship to election days. Yes, my vote matters and that’s why (however dorky this may sound) I had posters and books about women suffragists filling the walls and shelves of my bedroom growing up.

Yet I think it is of equal (or greater) importance to take daily actions that stand behind the types of votes I cast, the leaders I support, the laws I agree with, and the types of changes I would like to see in this country.

As I go to work each day or attend PIP seminars each week, I am inspired by those around me who I see taking daily actions to contribute to positive change. Although the work of politicians is admirable (at least in theory, if not always in practice), I have deep respect for those who stay out of the spotlight yet contribute to tangible changes in the lives of those around them.

I see Cabrini Connections mentors who spend hours each week with their mentees listening to stories about their days, helping them apply for high schools and colleges, taking them on special outings, and coaching them in algebra or physics. I see volunteers donating their technology skills to Tutor/Mentor Connection. I talk to program directors of other tutor/mentor programs who are busy and strained but still donate their time sharing best practices at our conferences. I see committed students in our program plan and organize fundraiser events like this past weekend's Halloween Bake Sale to help our program operate.

I admire each of these individuals for their alive since of citizenship.

Citizenship and supporting a cause takes votes, but I truly believe that making change happen also takes “behind the scenes” time, talent, and dollars. Please consider how you might “cast your vote” to support the work we do.

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