There has been some great effort to get people to the polls this year. It’s encouraging.
I have noticed, however, a common argument for voting seems to be that a single vote can make all difference. They talk about how close races have been in the past, where very few votes made the difference. NPR, for instance, had an interesting article titled “Why Every Vote Matters—The Elections Decided By A Single Vote (Or A Little More).”
It’s true that sometimes races and decisions can get very close and that can be exciting, but focusing on that misses the point a bit. It devalues the magnitude of what it means to head out to the polls and add your voice.
Voting is important not because you might be the one vote that swings it the way you want it to go. Voting is important because a democracy demands the voice of the people to elect our leaders. It’s not about me the person. It’s about we the people. It’s about us as a municipal, state, national, and global community.
Individualism is important, but perhaps we have strayed too far in our understanding of how we function as a community, and become too focused on our own egos. In a democracy, and in the United States in particular, we as individuals make up something bigger. Our national motto even tells us so.
So when you vote, it’s not a time to think about you. Sure take your selfies (where it’s permitted), broadcast your pride in doing your duty, show other people how good it feels to participate in the process. But remember that this moment is about synergy—when we come together to create something greater than all of us put together.