Remember the elections of 1968 and 1972? In 1968, I wanted to vote. I couldn’t. Like other 18 year-olds, we were old enough to die fighting for our country but not mature enough to vote.

1968 was a year much like 2020. Everything that could go wrong — did. The war in Vietnam brought protesters to the streets. Not just peaceful protests but demonstrations complete with draft card and American flag burnings. On April 4, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Unrest in the country grew to a fevered pitch.

Seizing the opportunity to run on a law and order platform, Richard Nixon declared only he could bring calm. A Democrat would keep the country in chaos. What the “law and order” presidential candidates don’t say is that laws apply to the rest of us, not them. The image of Nixon declaring himself, “not a crook,” forever seared into my brain. Could the vote of 18-year-olds have saved America from Nixon? We’ll never know that answer.

We do know every vote counts. If a 50-year record of 61.5% voter turn-out gives us Obama, imagine what 70% can do. Grab the bully by the ballot. Put on your mask, stuff hand sanitizer into your pocket and get to the polls. Statesman and civil rights leader John Lewis said voting is “precious, almost sacred.” Vote.

Linda Maher

Waseca

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