History is made by those who show up, the old cliche goes. For modern political life, the message is clear: Every vote matters, so long as you actually take the time to cast it. Indeed, modern U.S. government is full of examples of a few votes — or a single vote — making all the difference:
Got Your 6, a nonprofit that works to foster accurate portrayals of veterans, knows exactly how to honor veterans this year: vote. The organization has partnered with issue-driven media company, ATTN:, to release a new public service announcement around the election and Veterans Day.
This is not an endorsement for any political candidate. Rather, this is a call to arms — to vote! — for all veterans and active military personnel. Your vote in the 2016 presidential election is more important than ever, because if we veterans voice ourselves in the full-throttled manner to which we are accustomed, our votes will be a deciding factor, regardless of which way it swings.
This presidential election is one for the books. And although veterans have historically been strong advocates of voting as a civic duty, contentious nature of the 2016 election may change that. According to census data from the 2012 election, 71.2% of veterans are registered to vote. But this election, between Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, Republican candidate Donald Trump, has left many Americans questioning whether the electoral system is broken. Some veterans are voting for third-party candidates like Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, but others are choosing a different path: Abstention.
There is an unwritten code in our armed forces that those serving, especially officers, should not vote in U.S. elections. The most famous service member to follow this precedent was Gen. George C. Marshall, who served as Army chief of staff, secretary of state, and secretary of defense during World War II and the Cold War. The logic behind his decision not to vote stemmed from a desire to avoid partisan politics, because it would distract him from keeping the oath that commissioned officers take when joining their branch of service and upon every promotion, to “…support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”