This is the time of year for the Thankfulness challenge, which I never participate in. Not because I'm an ingrate. I'm genuinely grateful every time I hold my son or kiss my wife. Rather, because I know life will take over and I'll go quite some time without posting something for which I'm grateful and look look absent-minded AND ungrateful. So...
But given today, I'll jump in this one time and say I'm grateful for political franchise, the right to vote. And I'm grateful our process is just about the freest and fairest there is, though there remains room for improvement. Like a lot of you, I've had the opportunity to live and work in places that either don't extend the same right to their people, that do so as no more than a fig leaf to get the international community of their backs, or that nakedly employ violence, thuggery, and all manner of malfeasance to keep people in line. Some are so scared of it they will go to great lengths to disrupt it abroad.
Theirs can be a hopelessness and despair we've not known, but can be a hair's breadth away from experiencing, indirectly or otherwise. Just look at Georgia, North Dakota, and others. Ours an incredibly fragile power, one that shouldn't be taken for granted. It can easily be infringed. And when it is, it's because those in power are afraid of the fact that we have it. Just as businesses pay lip service to competition while doggedly trying to keep new entrants out of the market, malevolent politicians extol the idea of voting while doing all they can to discourage or deny those they know will hold them to account.
From time to time I'll see some "you are entitled to nothing" meme. Wrong. Citizens of the United States are entitled to the right to vote. So when you vote today, don't do it just because you're angry, afraid, or want to share your "I voted" sticker selfie, although all of those are justified. Make it an act of gratitude. Do it because others can't. Do it because it's your superpower. Even if things don't turn it the way you want them to, do it and do your part to reinforce the most foundational thread of our social fabric.
And if you don't, I'll come to your house and kick you in the shins.