Updated: December 7, 2012 6:16AM
Every year, we come to you on Election Day and urge you to be sure to vote. Every four years when the nation elects a president, we are even more pointed in our plea.
You’d almost think that newspapers have something to gain from citizens exercising their most fundamental right.
But in truth, this has the least to do with us and the most to do with you. The vote is your one, clear chance to send a message to the political leaders, to try to directly affect the future of anything from the nation to your school district.
This is not our day or the politicians’ day. It’s your day. You give them power today. Or you take it away.
This is where the future gets decided. You not only vote for yourself but your children. Your vote sends a signal to them that you value this precious right that many have died to protect.
And while it might be fashionable to suggest that your vote is relatively insignificant, you and your fellow voters can force substantial change.
Do not doubt for a moment the power of the ballot box. Be aware that the major political parties are spending more than $2 billion this year to try to win the presidency and control Congress. If you are not interested in what politicians do or think, the same cannot be said of them about your support.
Our elections are hardly perfect and neither are those running. For example, we wish Illinois would change how it picks county judges because the retention system makes it too hard to get rid of the weird ducks and courtroom tyrants who deserve the boot. It’s an obtuse system that discourages many from voting because they don’t know who should stay and who should go. Of course, the party poobahs want it that way.
One day, Illinois judges will be selected on independently assessed merit. We can always hope.
But imperfect candidates are not a reason to stay home today. Take the time. Think about your choices. This is the one day when being an American is special.