Politics has become a tug of war between colors and animals, blue and red, donkey and elephant, but on both sides of the line is an apathy that slobbers in the face of both freedom and opportunity. The shrug of the shoulders, the dismissive “what good does it do anyway” is a form of internal terrorism. After all, if the most prosperous nation in the world, if the land of the free has become so leisurely that it is content to give up the very right that decides who controls and governs it, then the powers that would seek America’s demise are that much closer to winning.

America is a nation that seeks to be synonymous with the words?freedom and opportunity. Our nation’s history is one of a battle for the right to be, the right to choose, the right to speak, the right to have a voice and a hand in how we are governed. None of us escaped elementary school without the Boston Tea Party’s “No taxation without representation” quotation engrained in our minds. As we find ourselves on the eve of a historic election and while the freedoms fought for and believed in were much slower to come to some than others, and while the battle for equality rages on, and while America may not yet be the land of opportunity it claims, every citizen eighteen or older has the right to vote. These citizens have the right to let their voice be heard, an opportunity denied many individuals throughout the world and, up until a few generations ago, denied many within this country.

I have listened as patriots, who display the flag, who will never forget 9/11, who revere the Founding Fathers and say the Pledge of Allegiance like a prayer, insist that they aren’t voting because “they hate both candidates.” I have heard progressive friends decry the Bush administration, the war, the state of the education system, the crimes of big business and the disgraceful truth that children still are hungry and without health care, all of that, and then they still do not vote? Enough! Find locally or nationally the person who represents you.

Howard Zinn said, “Dissent is the highest form of Patriotism.”?Thomas Jefferson wrote that it is healthy for a nation to have revolutions. So yes, have your opinions. Disagree. Hold your government, because it is your government, to a higher standard to your standard. Use your voice and the gift and opportunity to cast your vote. Do not claim to either love this country or hate this country but refuse to do anything about it.

Margaret Mead wrote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” There is a line, but it isn’t between party colors, it isn’t?a liberal or conservative line, it is a line between cynicism and apathy or opportunity and responsibility. The wonderful thing about this nation is you can choose which side of the line you will be on. Regardless of your side, be grateful for the choice and vote.