Like a massive funnel of time and will and war, everything in America's history leads to this day.
The act our citizenship demands of us on Election Day is trivial. We go to our polling places, pick up our No. 2 pencils and fill in the circles on a ballot.
We do so knowing that the person in the next voting booth may cancel out our vote. We do so knowing that those we elect may ignore our wishes.
"Democracy," Winston Churchill said, "is the worst form of government, except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."
After months of bitter campaigning, the rough edges of democracy are apparent. Most Americans sympathize with 4-year-old Abigael Evans who sobbed — in a video that quickly became a YouTube hit — "I'm tired of Bronco Bama and Mitt Romney."
But for all the frustration and all the seeming futility, we must vote.
The simple act of voting is the pinnacle of human achievement. By voting, we rebuke the dictators who believe that might makes right and the cynics who believe we are incapable or self-governance.
Today we reject the idea that government is an entity separate from the people. We own our government. We are responsible for its actions, both good and bad. When our government destroys liberty, we are the wolves. When it protects the vulnerable, we are the shepherds.
Right now, through our government, we are providing life-saving assistance to the hundreds of thousands of people in states affected by flooding and storm. They did the same for us during last year's tornadoes.
Storm response is one example of our interdependence. Elections are another.
Individually, we may have strong feelings about the candidates we support and oppose. The theory that has served America well, though, is that our collective wisdom — as expressed at the polls — surpasses the wisdom of individuals.
Churchill embraced democracy even though, as he put it, "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."
Individually we are clueless, but together we have the wisdom and strength to guide a nation.
Today is when we participate in the intersection of individual will and collective agenda. On Election Day, we focus our experiences and frustrations, our hopes and our fears, into a candidate.
We do so knowing our candidate may lose, but trusting in the superior wisdom of a nation filled with earnest voters. The disagreements are many, but the goal is one. We are seeking out the best path for America, and we have put our trust in each other to find it.
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