As citizens, we’re not asked to do much.

We pay taxes – we may not like it, but that’s how the government pays the bills.

From time to time, we serve on juries, so that the justice system can work the way it was intended.

And at least once a year, we vote – for school budgets, for local government, for Senators, and for Congressmen.

But every four years, on the first Tuesday after the first Sunday in November, we are given the right – nay, the privilege – of making our voices heard and casting a ballot for the person who will guide the ship of state and serve as America’s representative on the global stage.

Four years ago in this space, I suggested that voters reject the two major party candidates in favor of an animated character…and prior to that, I had suggested voting for ‘none of the above’. I’ve never believed that voting was unimportant, but the last general election felt flawed in every possible way, and honestly, I had reached a point where I wanted nothing to do with the process.

Fast forward four years – we’ve been through a 20-month ‘election’ cycle and endless primaries. But despite all that, this year is different. This year’s general election is about more than just a choice between ‘Republican’ and ‘Democrat’. It’s about more than a referendum on the last 8 years of government. And believe it or not, it’s about more than history (although, yes, the nation will either elect the first African-American President or the first female Vice President).

This election is about the future. More specifically, how we as a population want to be represented in a global community; how we want to be governed; about the legacy we leave behind, and the trail we blaze. Whatever you think of the major party candidates, there’s no denying that this election is about more than which man gets to keep the big chair in the Oval Office warm.

The old saying goes “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.” Well, I don’t know much about politics, but I know what kind of policies I want to support, and I know what type of person I’d want as my leader. And so, in part because I knew well in advance that I’d be traveling on Election Day, and in part because I wanted to remove any excuse for not casting a vote, I applied for, completed, and submitted my absentee ballot. That’s one vote down, several hundred million to go.

I’m not going to say ‘it doesn’t matter who you vote for’, because that’s patently untrue – perhaps this year moreso than in years past. But whichever candidate you support, whatever your party affiliation, whatever your beliefs about our government may be, the most important thing you can do all day on November 4, 2008, is go to your local polling place and make your voice heard.

Vote, damnit.

I’m M-D November, and I approve this message.

Need more proof? Take a look at today’s PVP.