To vote or not to vote, that is the question. I’ve heard people say — "if it comes down to Trump or Clinton, I’m just not going to vote!" My voice swells with sarcasm as I say, "Well, that will fix them!"
In a recent discussion with a 60-something black friend who was raised in Pine Bluff, I asked her if it indeed comes down to a Trump vs. Clinton campaign would she vote. She never hesitated in her answer. She said, "Yes — too many people sacrificed their lives for me to have my right to vote, of course I’ll vote." She went on to tell me a story about accompanying her father to the polling place. In those days he was forced to pay Poll Tax to exercise his right to vote! In addition to that burden, the white poll watcher demanded that her father read the Constitution aloud and explain what it meant.
Her father fulfilled the order to read the revered document but refused to explain it telling the white poll watcher that he should be able to read it and decipher it for himself.
Her father told the poll watcher, "Don’t you ever insult me in front of my children again!" and then her father voted. As my friend grew into adulthood, earned her degrees in engineering (including a PhD) she never lost her appreciation of the privilege to vote.
As Americans, we have a duty to vote. Author Edmund Burke wrote, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!" Let’s do something — let’s vote!
—Jean Riise Leffler