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Voting is a Privilege

An Open Letter From Your GAD

Imagine if you would, a little boy living in a small developing country on the other side of the globe. He's just begun kindergarten, and his entire world consists only of a loving family and a new found love of school. He doesn't know, nor would he understand, that the country in which he lives is a seven member run socialist state - governed by corruption, politically oppressive, and devoid of free elections. The boy's grandfather, having sided with the losing anti-communist forces during the recent war, was jailed for several years as a political dissident; a period referred to by the jailers as time spent in a "re-education camp-" what amounted to make-shift huts in remote mountainous jungle. It doesn't take long after his liberation for the grandfather to decide that the only hope for a better future for his family exists elsewhere, and decides to uproot their entire lives and relocate throughout the world, including seeking asylum in America, the little boy in tow…

Seventeen years went by before I learned this story about my grandfather and how I made it to the states. When I was growing up in Guilford County, all those times he dragged me to the polling booths, all those candidate profiles he had me read, and all those debates he had me watch with him - to me that was just time spent with grandpa. But to him, it was a teaching lesson, one he learned after escaping a country which gave him no voice, and on his way to becoming an American citizen: the right to vote is actually a privilege.

Sufficed to say, I've grown a bit from that little schoolboy, but finally learned where my grandfather's sense of civic duty came from, and why he was so adamant about civic engagement. The lesson worked. I spent my college years volunteering on campaigns, exploring political debate, and registering people to vote, anxiously awaiting the day that I would become a citizen and cast my own ballots.

So, imagine now if you would, that little boy since first joining his grandfather in that polling booth, growing up hearing debate on important public policy issues, and watching on the political sidelines for years; imagine now that one of his charges as Government Affairs Director is to make sure you get out and vote. This is the why, and there is no excuse for why not.

Too often, and in staggering numbers, the power we’re given to choose our leaders is taken for granted. For everything it is or is not, our elections are still the envy of the world. Taking part in them is a privilege. Your vote counts. Your vote matters. Your vote makes a difference.


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Densay Sengsoulavong
Government Affairs Director

2018 10 24 15 01 08