by DeAnna Quietwater Noriega

A democracy is only as good as the representatives chosen to lead it. If we allow apathy to keep us from participating in making a choice, then we betray the gift of freedom our forebearers fought to give us. Historically, the right to vote was controlled at the state level - only land owners could vote. In Massachusetts between 1691 and 1780, women could vote if they owned land. By the early 19th century all men could vote. This was clarified in 1869 by a Constitutional amendment to guarantee the civil liberty to vote regardless of race, creed or color. In 1919, the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote, and in 1924 a Congressional determination allowed Native American citizens voting rights. It wasn't until 1971 that 18-year-olds were allowed to vote. They were the last group to be faced with the consequences of having to comply with laws and regulations made about them without a voice in those decisions. They were asked to serve in a southeast Asian war with no opportunity to decide whether we should be there at all. As a blind Native American woman, I have always known how precious is the right to choose who speaks for me in my government. I urge you to exercise the privilege of choosing who will make the laws that will impact your life.

The disability community is the largest minority group in the country. They may not have significant amounts of money to contribute to political campaigns, but they do have the numbers to influence election results. You may think that your one little vote is unimportant - a single grain of sand. However, if you add it to all of the others to select a candidate who understands your issues, you can help make a difference in the quality of the government that is charged with making the decisions that affect you daily. Educate yourself. Read, listen, register to vote and choose wisely. Still think voting is not your thing? Check out the web site Rock The Vote at www.rockthevote.com/home.php and the web site Choose or Lose at think.mtv.com/044FDFFFF0002D79CFFFF00000068/Issues/Issue.aspx.

In the words of Justin Dart Jr., "Vote as if your life depended on it, because it does!"

Previous Article

Next Article

Return to Table of Contents

Return to the Braille Forum Index