By Edgar L. Vann
A paraphrased quote attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. says, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” The current zeitgeist has cast a pall of perplexing uncertainty for many over the status of the soul of this nation. It is a seismic moment of truth for us all. The malaise of mistrust. The nightmare of division and hyper-partisanship. The maelstrom of racial and economic inequity and injustice. The ongoing crisis of the pandemic and other issues that cloud the atmosphere of democracy.
And yet, through it all, a fundamental tenet of that democracy remains the most powerful individual engagement toward the quality of life in America. It’s your vote and your voice. The energy surrounding this election both nationally and locally is most critical to the trajectory of our lives now and for years to come. Voting is your voice in that process. Why vote? You’ve heard a lot of people respond to this question by saying elections have consequences. Elections are bigger than personalities. Voting is designed to establish public policy that governs us all. Elections guide and decide the American quality of life and our nation’s place in the world. You have a life, and your voice matters. Contrary to what it may often seem like, it is also your government. Your taxes pay for it and elected officials work for you. Voting is our collective privilege to choose, evaluate and hold accountable those who have the stewardship of our government.
As never before, this election affords all of us as voters the preferred option of voting early. Just as everything in the culture has shifted – normal is behind us and next is now! Now is your time to vote – the earlier, the better. More than 14 million ballots have already been cast in our nation and the numbers are rising rapidly. No more struggling to take time off work to get to the polls during specified times. No more antiquated polling machine breakdowns. No more precinct location confusion. No more transportation issues for those voting. So do it today. Avoid long lines. Make these important decisions in the comfort of your own home and space.
In Michigan, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has said at least 3 million ballots are expected to be cast by mail and more by absentee in-person voting. This time don’t wait and don’t procrastinate. Be proactive. Vote early. Take full advantage of the immediate opportunity to exercise this most honored right. Many fought and died to secure it. There is no excuse. Vote – and vote early.
— Bishop Edgar L. Vann is senior pastor of Second Ebenezer Church in Detroit.