This poem came out of the September 4, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from Anthony Barrette. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.
If you aren't already, please register to vote. Browse a directory of American political parties. VoteSmart offers lots of voter resources. OnTheIssues covers political candidates on specific issues.
You have a right to vote.
People fought and died to make America a free country
so that its citizens could vote --
and if you're black, or female, or poor,
then more people had to fight and die to insist
that the right to vote covered those groups too.
That conveys a responsibility to use it.
You have a right to your opinion --
but not just any opinion --
to your informed opinion.
It is your responsibility to examine
the issues and the candidates with care,
to choose a personal stance,
and then to express your opinions at the poll.
It is not a game, not a party,
not something to be blown off if inconvenient.
It is your chance to place a pebble on the wheel of history
and maybe, just maybe, influence which way it turns.
With every right to do something comes
an equal and congruent responsibility
to do it well.