What It Means to Cast A Ballot

Voting for political leaders is not like declaring your favorite flavor, band or action hero.

It’s not like liking.

It’s not deciding whom to sleep with or expel from the island. Or marry.

It’s not like deciding whether to swing at the pitch or let it go.

Voting is helping to lay out, and design, and build a field of action.

The vote is the price of the ticket.

Once the field is laid out, you’re free to play the rest of the game. To try changing the rules. To change strategies, tactics, coaches. The game is no picnic. There’s fun, there’s grief. You have to fight it out. In truth, there is no end of fighting. Win some, lose some. You don’t get to pick the players.

In truth, democracy is a verb. You keep doing it. You keep choosing life. 

Excerpt from “On Voting: It’s Always the Most Important Election of Your Life,” VII, by Todd Gitlin, professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University. For the full text, go to https://lithub.com/author/toddgitlin/