The Most Precious Right

Did you know that until 1812, there were property qualifications to be met in order to vote in the United States? (All property qualifications were done away with by 1860.)

Did you know that until the 15th Amendment, non-white men couldn’t vote?

Surely you knew that Senators weren’t elected directly by voters until 1913?

Of course, women didn’t get the vote until 1920.

Oh, and about that 15th Amendment? Non-white citizens (e.g., African Americans) weren’t allowed to vote in most Southern states until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

Poll taxes, which barred many poor from voting, were done away with only in 1964, with the passage of the 24th Amendment.

What these plot points in history show is that the right to vote has not been a broadly accepted right in the history of this country. When the Founders established the republic, the franchise was limited to propertied white males, as they had a “stake” in the nation’s success.

Every generation, the idea of universal suffrage gained momentum. But it has never done so without great struggle and pushback from the forces of reaction.

“Why should men who own no property be allowed to decide the fate of men who do?”

“Why should Negroes, who are below the Caucasian race, be allowed to vote on matters of national import?”

“Women are mentally unfit to cast ballots. That is the purview of men.”

Every time a proposition was made to include more people into the governance of the state, there have been those excuses. They call upon “tradition”, “common sense”, “natural order”. What they actually call on is bigotry, hatred, and greed.

Voting has never been free. It has never been given up without a fight. It has never been attained by a gentle word or a plaintive cry. Different groups of people have wrested the right to vote by sweat, by tears, by blood even, crying out that they will have a voice in the running of their own affairs, regardless of what those who hew to tradition will say.

And yet, now in 2014, we have a degenerated Republic.

There are estimates that 90 million voters will go to the polls today. That is up from about 60 million in 2010. While that is a welcome surge, that is still not even half of the voting age population.

Voting has gone from a right to be fought for to an imposition to be shirked off.

“Why should I vote? Nothing changes.”

“Voting for the lesser of two evils doesn’t interest me.”

“I’m too busy to vote.”

The excuses roll easily off the tongue.

I can understand if people don’t have the time to volunteer. That is time consuming, and too many people are burdened just trying to make ends meet. Likewise for contributing to campaigns.

But voting is the one weapon you have to make sure that you will struggle less. Voting is your weapon to aim at the 1% who want to impose a feudal system on this country. Voting is your weapon to make your voice heard, that you are not an expendable commodity but a living, thinking human being, and you want the state to work for you, not against you.

Voting is the citizen’s most precious right. It is the right from which all other rights flow. Not bothering to vote ensures that people will win office who respect none of your rights. Not voting abdicates your right to complain, to demonstrate, to be a citizen. Without the vote, all other rights are conditional and revokable. Voting is the sword one wields against injustice.

If you’re reading this on this Election Day, and are caviling about whether or not to go and vote, think of all the people who came before you, fighting, dying for the right to vote. Think of people around the world who take to the streets to call for the right to vote, to decide their own fates. Think that “the world’s greatest democracy” only functions if everyone’s voices are heard, not just those of the rich and the fellow travelers they bamboozle.

Vote, because it’s the one way you can proudly claim that title: United States citizen.


118 Responses to “The Most Precious Right”

  1. 1 vcprezofan2
    November 4, 2014 at 12:28 pm


  2. 5 donna dem 4 obama
    November 4, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    • 6 vcprezofan2
      November 4, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      Hi, GDD, how’s the work day going?

      • 7 donna dem 4 obama
        November 4, 2014 at 12:43 pm

        Hard to concentrate. To be honest…I’m a nervous wreck!! I wish I was at the campaign office. They keep you so busy you don’t have time to think! 🙂

        • 8 vcprezofan2
          November 4, 2014 at 12:46 pm

          That’s why I asked. I noted you said earlier that it’s ‘easier’ to be involved at campaign on a day like today. Hang in there, GDD, maybe you can sneak out leave a bit early near the end of the work day.

  3. November 4, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Beautiful, timely post LL, thank you soooooooo much!!

  4. 14 amk for obama
    November 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    • 15 hopefruit2
      November 4, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      Good response amk. Sometimes, this “God” person annoys me with his crap tweets on serious matters. Nice try discouraging voters…but FAIL.

    • November 4, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      Just think about your not being there to cancel that stupid vote. If you are not there stupid wins which is usually the problem in the midterms. That usual result creates two to more years of stupid selections to deal with in Congress.

  5. 17 edp4bho
    November 4, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Hearing about this wave here in Pennsylvania.

  6. 18 PoliticalJunkessa
    November 4, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Hear! Hear! LL.

  7. November 4, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    I don’t know, folks. My spidey senses are tingling. It seems as if the estimate someone posted on here earlier about 90m people voting is turning out to be accurate. And those ain’t GOP votes.

  8. 21 amk for obama
    November 4, 2014 at 12:36 pm

  9. 22 amk for obama
    November 4, 2014 at 12:37 pm

  10. November 4, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Wow…Thanks for this powerful, informative and inspirational essay LL.

  11. 24 amk for obama
    November 4, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    oh god, fucking florida again.

  12. 25 amk for obama
    November 4, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    ok, it’s 11 pm. will check back in the am.

    Make it happen, dems. Go fucking vote.

  13. 30 amk for obama
    November 4, 2014 at 12:41 pm

  14. 31 donna dem 4 obama
    November 4, 2014 at 12:41 pm

  15. 32 JER
    November 4, 2014 at 12:41 pm

  16. November 4, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Enjoy the ditch, Mitch ….

  17. November 4, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Love the sign in the back of the room ….

  18. 36 No Child Left Behind
    November 4, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Good Afternoon TODVille!

    Working frantically and trying to keep my mind off the news.

    As I promised here in TODVille, I will not turn on the TV when I get home later. I will wait for the results here I know that my heart cannot take any of the pundits of MSNBC let alone CNN or any other fools for that matter.

    I read the earlier threads and feel good so far.

    My daughter dispatched all her friends. She dragged one aged 29 who voted for the first time.

    My sisters all voted and are still calling lazy Dems to go vote.

    Before leaving my office, I will remind my co-workers that they must vote today and vote BLUE.

    If we come out, we win.


  19. November 4, 2014 at 1:02 pm

  20. 42 busbus
    November 4, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Seldom make a comment; but, am on this site at least twice a day. Seldom look at the “byline,” but, recognize LL’s writing every time.
    LL, this is the article that everyone needs to read. I answered yes to every one of your questions; and, I worry that “We the People” can lose every one of those hard fought gains.

  21. November 4, 2014 at 1:15 pm


    “Canada May Be Interested In Buying Mistrals
    16:58 (GMT)

    Le Monde reports that Canada may well be a possible buyer for France’s Mistral-class warships, enabling the Elysée to both distance itself from Russia and assuage domestic fears about shipyard job losses.

    Two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships were ordered by Russia and one, the Vladivostok has already begun conducting sea trials. Their delivery has, however, been postponed, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

    President François Hollande is currently on a state visit to Canada and is being accompanied, Le Monde reports, by Gilles Bonnaud, diplomatic adviser for DCNS (Direction des Constructions Navales), the constructor of the Mistral-class ships.

    The newspaper notes that Bonnaud’s presence “is not insignificant,” and points out that, in addition to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s robust rhetoric towards Russia, Canada is embarking upon a modernisation programme for its navy and coast guard.Canada May Be Interested In Buying Mistrals.”


  22. November 4, 2014 at 1:15 pm

  23. 58 No Child Left Behind
    November 4, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    It’s November 4. Do you know where your polling place is?

  24. November 4, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Thank you, Friends, for your support for our President and all those who share his values. A special thanks for those of you who are volunteering in campaigns and GOTV!

  25. 62 JER
    November 4, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    LISTEN NOW: President Obama – http://stream.wnpr.org/

  26. 64 vcprezofan2
    November 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Okay, laptop cool down time (lunch break); trying to minimize the chance of it letting me down at a crucial moment later

  27. November 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    fired up! let’s do this, people!! check out the guy in the background of this photo:

  28. 73 JER
    November 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm

  29. 74 japa21
    November 4, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    I believe AMK lives in an area with, for the rest of us, a weird time zone in that it is 30 mins different. If so, it has officially just become AMK’s birthday.

    Congrats AMK.

  30. November 4, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Brilliant and thought- provoking, as always, LL! Have shared on FB. In the context of being a ‘weapon’, our vote is the ONLY weapon, used accordingly, with which we do more Good than Harm! ❤

  31. November 4, 2014 at 1:47 pm

  32. 82 nospin
    November 4, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    12:16 a.m. in amk’s world. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!

  33. 83 idon
    November 4, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Those local polling places reports are great. Please please keep ’em coming so I can retweet them.

  34. November 4, 2014 at 1:49 pm

  35. 88 Linda
    November 4, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Clear picture of the thumbs down guy here…..check out his eyes……so funny !


  36. November 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm

  37. 91 jackiegrumbacher
    November 4, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    To lighten the day’s tension, here’s a photo of me (blue top, third from left) trying to dance the salsa. The fabulous instructors are in the front.

  38. 99 yardarm756
    November 4, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    According to Joy Reid, the voting in GA is a “hot mess”!

  39. November 4, 2014 at 2:10 pm

  40. 103 desertflower
    November 4, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Google has a reminder that it’s VOTING DAY TODAY!! Even has link to check your polling place 🙂 Thanks, Google!

  41. 105 desertflower
    November 4, 2014 at 2:18 pm


    The party that never met a gun purchase restriction they thought was not onerous wants to make sure no one ever walks into a school and unleashes a wanton spray of ballots. […]

    Bear in mind we’re talking about Texas, the deregulation capital of the solar system. The state whose official symbol is the uninspected, exploding chemical plant.

    Sometimes Jon Stewart gets it right

  42. 106 donna dem 4 obama
    November 4, 2014 at 2:20 pm

  43. 107 desertflower
    November 4, 2014 at 2:21 pm


    You need to vote because there are Personhood measures that would grant citizenship to fertilized eggs on the ballot in Colorado and North Dakota. You need to vote because who controls not just Congress, but state legislatures, is also at stake. And governors and state legislatures determine whether or not you—or others in your state—will be able to vote next time. You need to vote because of the minimum wage and because of paid family leave and equal pay protections and Supreme Court appointments.

  44. 108 desertflower
    November 4, 2014 at 2:23 pm

  45. 109 desertflower
    November 4, 2014 at 2:24 pm

  46. November 4, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Wendy is Rocking It!!!


    Yes WE Can

  47. November 4, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    If you think Mitch is having a bad day, the folk in OK are delivering the hurt to Fallin …


    Yes WE Can

  48. 117 jackiegrumbacher
    November 4, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    I’ve been working the polls today with reps from the three Republicans running for the same state representative seat–the one with an R after his name, the one listed as “Independent” and the looney urging a write in. I was rooting for all three of them to cancel each other out, so that our Dem candidate could win and that may still happen. The more write-ins the looney gets, the fewer go to the other Rs. Got interviewed by the newspaper this am and a local camera crew stopped by. Traffic was brisk as it’s been at all polling places in the county. We have BY FAR the better ground game and organization. Our poll watchers have up to the second lists and were texting results to staging areas, plus we even had a delivery volunteer bring us sandwiches to order. It was as if we were conducting a professional level operation and they were amateurs. Pretty amazing when you realize that they’re the dominant party. But we were all trained by the political genius of our time–President Barack Obama.

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