Souls to the Polls.

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( Election Day – Tuesday, November 4th – is rapidly approaching. That’s only a few days away. Are you ready to do your civic duty? Have you done your due diligence? By now, I hope you’ve looked into all the candidates for the various races. I hope you’ve gotten informed on the burning issues. I hope you’ve decided who you’re going to support with your vote. I hope you’re committed to go out to your polling place and let your voice be heard. Most importantly, I trust you’ve previously registered to vote. If all those things are in place, you’re fully equipped to be one of the souls to the polls.

Confronting the Ebola virus. Fighting ISIS in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. Dealing with the Russia-Ukraine border conflict. Denying Iran the capability to build a nuclear bomb in a way which does not require an armed U.S. military response. Our domestic issues of infrastructure, tax reform, immigration reform, job creation, setting the conditions for a true living wage, workplace equality for women, and so much more. Your vote helps to determine which of these issues are addressed – or not. Your vote helps to determine if your state is nationally recognized – or not. Your vote helps to determine if some of your states’ citzens are insured or not, have the continued assurance of a safety net or not, and/or have even the chance of a well-paying job or not. Simply put, your vote helps to determine who represents us.

Pay no attention to the professional, highly-compensated, self-described prophets of doom. There are those out there who seek to make everyblack-people-voting-2014 election about fear. They want to make their own phobias your phobias: kainotophobia (fear of change); kakorrhaphiophobia (fear of failure); gynophobia (fear of women); and/or centophobia (fear of new things or ideas). The naysayers want you to vote from an emotional place rather than from an enlightened place. President Obama is not on the ballot. He will never, ever be there again. Don’t take your eyes off the prize.

The stakes are very high, indeed. We all – individually and collectively – have the opportunity to affect change. We all have the opportunity to exercise our constitutionally-protected right to choose our own governance. That’s why democracy rocks. Our system isn’t perfect. Nothing involving human beings can ever be perfect. That said, the United States has it really good comparatively speaking. In the governance of communism, dictatorship, and totalitarianism (to name a few), citizens either cannot vote or their vote is symbolic/disregarded. In such systems of oppressive government, a person unwilling or unable to vote for the powers-that-be is subject to penalties ranging from harassment to imprisonment to economic exile to death.

After months of wall-to-wall political solicitations from candidates, political parties, super PACs, friends, family members, and strangers, I think some levity is needed. Did you know that in New Mexico, idiots may not vote? That’s funny – even without knowing what New Mexico’s definition of an idiot is.

I’m not going to berate you in order to encourage you to vote. There’s been far too much of that happening as it is. You’re hard-working. You’re smart. You’re probably abreast on current events domestically and globally. You know what’s happening locally and statewide. Since these things are all true, it’s safe to say you probably know who to vote for. And why.

If you tend to vote based on your party affiliation, that’s fine. If you tend to vote for the best candidate running, there’s nothing wrong with that. Whatever your system or process is, all that matters is that you show up and vote.

Republican voters have a long history of voting every election cycle: in odd years and in even years. Democrats could learn a few things from Republicans in this regard. Democrats tend to show up in huge numbers in presidential election years, in marginal numbers in non-presidential even years, and in paltry numbers in odd years. That’s not my opinion. Those are the facts.

It may sound passé or clichéd, but your vote really does matter. The ability to vote is one of the greatest privileges of being an American citizen. If you choose not to vote, you are actually doing something un-American. If you decide to skip an election – this one or any other one – you forfeit your right to complain about what comes next legislatively.

Folks, politicophobia (fear or abnormal dislike of politicians) is real for some. However, don’t allow this to stop you from doing your duty.

Early voting is still happening until Friday, October 31st. On Election Day, you will be able to vote from 7:00am until 7:00pm. Between now and then, make sure you get your soul to the polls.

Staff Writer; Arthur L. Jones, III

This talented brother is a local Minister, weekly featured Democratic Op-Ed columnist, non-profit advisor, and sees the Braves winning it all this fall. Rev. Jones welcomes your comments! Please email him directly at: