People profess their love for America in many different ways; some make sense to me, some don’t. Love, like a lot of things, is subjective and assessing its depth and basis is fraught with peril. That said, we all have a chance to objectively prove our love of America over the next few weeks by fulfilling our essential obligation as citizens to participate in the election.

In an ever more complex and confusing world, you have the simple and clear opportunity to demonstrate if you really are a patriot by voting. You can do more if you want, and you should, but if you don’t vote, no matter what you say, you don’t care. By not voting you are not part of the solution; you are the problem.

Voting is a right. But perhaps more importantly, it is a duty. The people who show up are the ones who decide. It really is that simple. It is as true at town meeting as it is in the presidential election. Your voice can only be heard if you use it. Sitting on the sidelines accomplishes nothing. It sends no message to anyone other than conveying that you and your concerns don’t matter. If you don’t matter then no one will pay attention to you. By sitting out the election you not only mute yourself, you magnify the voices of others.

While anyone who has read much of what has been written in this space probably has a sense of how I have already voted, but this isn’t about convincing you to support a candidate; this is about participating. We do best as a community, and as a country, when more of us are engaged and exercising our right to vote. Once again, just like everything else in life, this is another case of use it or lose it.