I forgot to vote early Saturday. The polls closed at 1 p.m., so a friendly canvasser rang my doorbell at 12:50.
"Are you going to vote early?" he asked.
"I guess not," I said. I was so glad he came to my door to remind me to vote. How refreshing it was to see democracy as a simple thing like punching a chad or touching a screen. It seemed so easy. But I doubt voting is the litmus test for democracy.
I was passionate about politics at times in the past decade, but my guys kept losing. My girls did too. I learned my votes did not make a difference but that I might change the world in other ways. So I taught. I tried to be a rock when I could have rolled.
"It's supposed to be hard," Jimmy Dugan explained to a tired Dottie Hinson in A League of Their Own. "If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great." Anyone can vote, but at least one candidate this season has the sense to know that Americans have to sweat to make freedom for each other. Democracy is not about the guy in charge. It's about empowering the people to be in charge. The right to vote is necessary for democracy but not defining. Democracy is selfless. Democracy should be selfless even for the president.
Carter and Kennedy knew all this and told us so. True leaders do not give; they demand. Drew Carey said the American dream was to make money while sitting on one's ass, and maybe it is for a lot of people. But those people don't defend democracy. They sit on their asses.
So, in the words of Jimmy Dugan, use the lump three feet above your ass to vote tomorrow because you can. Then do something good.