I come from a line of warriors. My paternal great grandfather was a man named Floyd Davis. He served as a Chief in the United States Navy during World War I. His son, Romondo E. Davis I, was a Yeoman third Class on board the USS Currituck during World War II. My father, Romondo Murray Davis, was an Engineman on board the USS Conserver during the Vietnam War. My Mother’s father, Calvin Lee Wyatt, served as a Private First Class in the Army Infantry during World War II.
Now, I’ve seen the corruption that plagues American government. I’ve seen the reports of big corporations controlling the legislation that is passed by paying off the politicians that we elect. I’ve seen the extent of bureaucracy and the ability it has to destroy all hope of justice. I get it. Voting is a joke, since it’s a flawed, often hopeless system that we are feeding. I get that change isn’t really possible by getting the right candidate in office, since no candidate will ever fix the deeply rooted problems that exist within our government. I understand that I am one of 300 million Americans, and even though less than 60% of them actually vote, that’s still a big enough group that my vote will never make a real difference. I get it.
But, damn it if I don’t vote. When Calvin Lee Wyatt was entrenched in the Battle of the Bulge, watching his friends take mortar shells and shrapnel, he saw it through. As he followed his orders and charged out of his foxhole, I can’t imagine that he didn’t rally himself with the thought that it was all for the sake of his sons and daughters, and their sons and daughters. I’m convinced that the idea that one day, because he loaded and fired his weapon, reloaded and fired again, this war that he didn’t ask to be a part of would secure for future generations the right to live in a country where democracy reigned. He fought for me. And Romondo E. Davis I, as his ship serviced war planes that had taken on heavy fire from the Japanese fighter pilots and warships, must have at some point thought to himself that his efforts to keep his ship afloat meant that some day his children could vote. They fought for that, and watched their friends die for that. They came back and wrestled with those demons for the rest of their lives for that. So, damn it if I don’t vote.
I will vote, fully aware that my vote means no promise of change or of progress. I will stand in line and fill out the forms, knowing that it will have no effect on the whether or not the world burns. But, I will vote with my head held high. And I will remember Floyd Davis, Calvin Lee Wyatt, Romondo E. Davis I, and Romondo Murray Davis and the brave men and women that they fought alongside. I will tell my children stories of what their forefathers have done, and why it’s a thing of great pride to vote. They will know who they are and where they come from: a line of warriors who fought that they might know the right to make their voices heard. As long as I keep voting, the legacy of those great and brave men from whom I descend will be alive. Their sacrifice matters and will always matter.
Damn it if I don’t vote.