Center of Concern | Fri, Sep 19, 2008
Last night, after a long day of work and travel, I approached my apartment building with much anticipation. Less than six months ago, I finally gained my American citizenship and recently sent in my voter registration. While I’ve never had the opportunity to vote, I’ve been actively engaged in politics both from an ideological and faith based perspective, even lobbying as part of a Social Justice group in high school. Yet I had never voted in any national election in the 20 years I have been a resident of the U.S. When I opened my mailbox and saw my voter registration card, my heart silently wept with joy. I would finally have the opportunity to express myself, as a voter, citizen and disciple.
Voting is one of the most important and intimate forms of expressing one’s citizenship. Regardless of the outcomes of the elections, I will be proud to be among those who cast their vote. As citizens, it is not only our right to vote, but our civic duty to ensure that our voices are heard. We can discuss the changes we want to see in politics, but it is in voting that we take the first step in fighting for that change. We owe it to ourselves and our fellow citizens to choose candidates that best represent our values.
Although my political leanings have always been influenced by my faith values and my desire to see a better world for myself and my brothers and sisters all across the world, my time at the Center has helped me ground my values in Catholic Social Thought. COC materials on the elections (http://www.coc.org/election2008) have been particularly useful to me during this election cycle, helping me recognize that my beliefs are grounded in a strong faith tradition that compels me to seek the common good, not just in my personal life but in my expectations of those elected to represent me.
I am proud to say that in this election cycle, I will have the opportunity as a voter, to fulfill my duty as a citizen and to express my relationship with Christ through the choices I make at the voting booth. For 20 years, I have been unable to participate in deciding what direction the country I live in will take, whether it will seek the common good or misuse its power. For this reason, I am particularly grateful for the privilege of voting.
I strongly encourage every citizen to exercise their right and duty to vote by registering (http://www.eac.gov/voter/Register%20to%20Vote) and by getting to the polls early to ensure that your voice is counted. Some states offer the opportunity to vote early to avoid the crowds and any voter irregularities. Please find out if your state is one of them (http://earlyvoting.net/states/abslaws.php) and Vote!