Say all you want about the major candidates for president during the days and weeks leading up to the Nov. 8 election.
When that Tuesday arrives, it’s time to drop the talk and make your mark. Choose the option you think will make the best leader, hand in your ballot, and walk out knowing you have done your part.
Gov. Charlie Baker, to our dismay, does not plan to do this. He was one of the first Republicans to say, last March, that he would not vote for Donald Trump if the controversial businessman became his party’s choice. The governor also won’t cast his vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton. Nor will he select Libertarian Gary Johnson or the Green Party’s Jill Stein.
Back from a trip to Ireland last week, he reiterated this stance, saying he remained “incredibly disappointed” in both Trump and Clinton.
Read our Sun report on Worcester getting ahead on early voting
Roberta Schaefer, founder and former president of the Worcester Regional Research Bureau, says she will write in investment banker Evan McMullin, an independent candidate for president. It’s unclear whether Baker will also choose the write-in option, but even if he does, that is hardly helpful to the democratic process or inspiring to our young people.
Baker, who votes in Swampscott, is putting his attention on other parts of the ballot. Notably, he’s a proponent of Question 2, which would allow more charter schools in the state.
But in bypassing the top of the ticket — and making that decision public — the governor is, uncharacteristically, bypassing his responsibilities as a citizen and role model.
He is also cheating himself of the satisfaction that comes from upholding the ideals of democracy by doing the best one can with the ballot at hand.
Don’t make the same mistake. Don’t shrug off the powerful privilege we Americans share.
Vote for president.
First of all, make sure you’re on the voter rolls.
Today, Oct. 19, is the deadline for registering to vote in Massachusetts. Residents 18 and older with a state-issued driver’s license or ID are eligible. [Click here to check your voter registration status, learn about the Nov. 8 ballot, or register to vote online.]
Once that detail is in order, it’s time to get serious about the decisions, because they will count. Massachusetts residents will be selecting candidates for various offices and settling four ballot questions. The Worcester Election Commission’s website has the facts on local polling places and other information.
[And, don’t forget, early voting begins Monday, Oct. 24, in Worcester. Check here for times and locations.]
Every four years, it comes down to these last few electrifying weeks.
There is nothing like a presidential election to remind us that we are all participants in our profoundly admirable American system.
On Nov. 8, as we line up to cast our ballots, many of us will stand a little straighter. When we leave, we’ll feel pleased and proud — not necessarily about the choices we had to make, but because we were asked to make them and we did.
Make sure you take part.
Whether the candidates at the top of the ticket are well-liked or not — this year, in a nutshell, for most people they are not — voting brings out the best in our country. That’s because elections are the bedrock process of a democracy.
A lot of what stirs people to the election booths is this sense, this truth, about participation in an enormous, enduring and worthy endeavor. Voting is one of our most precious individual rights, absolutely fundamental to our form of governance. But when you cast your ballot, it’s not just about you. It’s about us.
Going to the polls is a show of belief in, and support for, our system.
Don’t be like Gov. Baker and others who say they’ll leave the top part of the ballot blank. The presidential choice is too important to leave to chance, or to ignore as some sort of statement about yourself or your values.
Vote, knowledgeably, up and down the ticket. That says more about who you are.
Then, put your powers at work for yourself, your family, your workplace and community to keep them improving and strong. That, too, is part of our civic duty, and collectively helps make future ballots better.
In four years, we’ll be back pondering the presidency, and no doubt complaining vociferously. That’s part of the messy, imperfect beauty of American democracy. But on Election Day, each of us ought to quietly stand up for the process by making the best choices put in front of us.