This column is about you.
This is about you, personally. I don’t have a crowd in my mind; I’m seeing individuals I know and have met. I’m thinking of your needs and your hopes for yourself, your family, your community and our nation.
If there is one single thing I can say to you about this election that will help, it is this: Vote. There are so many reasons to skip voting. In my few years (I’m barely middle-aged, after all), I’ve heard many.
Here are a few:
Excuse No. 1: “This election is a choice between the lesser of two evils.” My response: If you’re right, then do you really want to leave to others the chance of selecting the greater evil?
Excuse No. 2: “I’m discouraged. My candidate didn’t deliver, and I don’t like the other candidate.” My response is a parable: Fear and Doubt went knocking on doors. When they knocked on the door of Faith and Courage, they answered. And Fear and Doubt vanished. Vote your hopes, your dreams, your faith and your courage to go forth. Never, never, never let political ads or campaigns steal your faith and courage by sowing fear and doubt in their place ... so that you quit.
Excuse No. 3: “Everyone’s telling lies. I don’t know what or whom to believe.” Well, you know what you believe. Apply those values and choose the candidate who comes closest. You’re only human, and so are they.
Excuse No. 4: “In 2000, the election in Florida was a mess. What’s the point of voting if my vote isn’t counted?” I know about Florida in 2000. The win was by 537 votes. Bottom line: If 538 more voters had gone to the polls for Vice President Al Gore, the outcome would have been different, no matter how messed up.
Excuse No. 5: “The other candidate seems to have the momentum. What’s the point of my voting?” Remember when your parents made you do something you didn’t want to do? And you were grateful? Your self-motivated momentum can make a difference.
Excuse No. 6: “My spouse is voting for the other candidate. Our votes will cancel each other’s. We might as well stay home.” That’s an illusion. Your spouse might be in the minority who are voting. Or, it could be so close, your one vote will decide.
Excuse No. 7: “I don’t live in a swing state. My vote isn’t important because my state isn’t important.” No single vote, no one state is unimportant. Your state’s winner counts as votes in the Electoral College that determines the winner. Your state could wind up deciding that vote.
Excuse No. 8: “Politics is a corrupt, dirty business. I hate it. I want nothing to do with it.” Scores of Americans lie buried in foreign fields, having given their lives for others’ freedoms and to preserve your freedoms, including your right to vote. Their sacrifice counts. Take your idealism to the polls and make a difference — honor their sacrifice. Vote.
Excuse No. 9: “It’s a man’s world. I’m a woman. Men will control the White House; they will control the election.” Guess what? Women outnumber men as registered voters. Vote for the man who shows that he’s on your side, and you’ll make a difference for you, your family and the future.
Excuse No. 10: “The Electoral College might end in a tie, and the election will be thrown into the House of Representatives. And, they’ll decide, not me.” One election was so close, it was decided by one vote per precinct. This might be another one. Even in a state with four electoral votes, your single vote could make the difference, and those four electoral votes could break the Electoral College tie.
I want you to vote regardless of your party or choice. Vote in honor of those who gave their lives while young, and lie in Gettysburg and France and on Pacific Islands. Honor their sacrifice; honor your role — your place in our democracy. Please, vote.
Know this: Whichever candidate wins, he will need us to get the job done.
Whether it’s President Barack Obama or former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, just vote for one of them. But remember, we have other candidates on the ballot and some important ballot initiatives as well.
The stakes are high in this election. It is so close that many professional pollsters or political veterans are changing their forecasts daily. It can literally come down to your personal vote.
Take advantage of the opportunity to vote early. Both Obama’s and Romney’s websites have links to instructions for early voting. Or call your local board of elections and ask.
Vote. Vote early. Vote today. Vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
(Donna Brazile is a senior Democratic strategist, a political commentator and contributor to CNN and ABC News, and a contributing columnist to Ms. Magazine and O, the Oprah Magazine.)