The founding fathers of our nation believed that human beings have certain inalienable rights, including (but not limited to) life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, they did not consider suffrage to be one of those rights. First non-whites could not vote, then women. Today, my mother - who has lived in this country for the majority of her life and has thoughtful and heartfelt opinions about how it should be run - does not have the right to vote. She is not a citizen (yet - her paperwork is currently floating around the ephemera at USCIS). And that's as it should be. No offense, mom, but we can't just let anybody (like non-citizens and children) vote.
My point is, voting is not a right. It is the privilege and duty of every citizen. The summer after I turned eighteen, my father took me to the county seat to get registered to vote. He was cheerful, filled as he was with a sense of civic virtue. I, on the other hand, had been woken up early and driven forty-five minutes in order to wait another hour and a half in an uncomfortable plastic chair. I was sulky and sarcastic, and I completely missed the point. I still regret not thanking my father that day for the gift he gave me - the right to decide my country's (and by extent, my own) future.
Now hear this, Virginia residents - if you have time to read this blog, you have time to register and to vote. It's easy. Here are the necessary links:
VA Board of Elections website - all you ever need to know about the voting process.
Registration form (PDF) - if you've never registered or have moved since the last election. The deadline for registration is October 6th.
Absentee Ballot application (PDF) - the deadline for the application is 5pm on October 28th, and the ballot must be received by the time polls close on Election Day (November 4th).
Furthermore, I will help you. Comment with your address and what you need, and I will mail you the appropriate forms (along with a stamped envelope, if necessary). I screen comments, so your personal information will not be available to all and sundry. And just in case making things simple isn't enough, how about this ... ETERNAL GLORY. Send me a picture of your voting process (submitting your registration, dropping your absentee ballot in the mail, or even your "I Voted" sticker on election day). I will post it on this blog and say something nice about you. And possibly send you cookies.
Finally, a word of advice. If you don't vote, you will forfeit your right to complain to me about the government for the next four to eight years. Unless you have a really good excuse, like you were kidnapped by crazed Canadians and smuggled across the border. But I'll want to see the beaver claw-marks.