Our Opinion: This is our defining day as American citizens

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For the past several months, American citizens have been subjected to rhetoric, hectoring, outright rabble-rousing, fear-mongering, pleading and appeals to our decency and patriotism. We have followed reports in the media that our nation has become more and more divided against itself.

Overheated pundits have alternately extolled a new America as exemplified by the nation's current leadership and decried it in apocalyptic terms.

Our faith in the meaning of absolutes like "facts" and "truth" has been assaulted. We have been subjected to so many falsehoods and have had our democratic norms so eroded that, to some, the fabric of our system has been frayed practically beyond repair.

Locally, we have seen a blizzard of yard signs exhorting us to vote "Yes" or "No" on various state issues. The lobbying on either side of the issues has been intense and, in some cases, has only confused matters. A bruising race for district attorney has degenerated into the politics of personal vilification where it should never have penetrated.

Nationally, pundits and polls have told us what we think, who and what issues are likely to win — and many of us take these findings as gospel, and therefore, an excuse to stay home.

But today, fellow citizens, is the only day that has ever really counted. All the ink spilled, broadcast hours filled with so-called "expert" analysis and political spin — today, all of it winds up in the circular file where it belongs. Today, we are the "informed electorate" so prized by our Founding Fathers.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to individual citizens wielding the true power of democracy with their individual votes. This day defines our democratic identity as Americans, and we should embrace it with gusto.

It is our government — not that of our leaders. In our system, we are their bosses. If anyone among us doubts our power, look back upon how much treasure and effort has been expended to convince us as to how we should exercise it.

Beginning tomorrow, there will be plenty of time to analyze and parse the results that emerge from the polls — but on this day, we possess the hard-won opportunity and duty to register our own preference as to how we wish our country to proceed. It's an intensely personal decision, and one not to be squandered.

Please vote today, if you have not already done so.




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