Get ready, dear reader. Today’s editorial is a bundle of cliches. But it’s a bundle of cliches in service to good — perhaps the highest good in our land right now. Voting.
Our first cliche? To quote a recent article and say: News item. So here we go.
News item: "A growing number of U.S. companies are pledging to give workers time off to vote in the presidential election this November, an effort that’s gaining steam despite the government’s reluctance to make Election Day a federal holiday," the Associated Press wrote last month.
"Starbucks said Thursday it will give its 200,000 U.S. employees flexibility on Election Day. … Walmart says it will give its 1.5 million U.S. workers up to three hours paid time off to vote. Apple is giving workers four hours off. Coca-Cola, Twitter, Cisco and Uber are giving employees the day off."
Our next cliche? The deployment of the word "kudos." So here we go.
Kudos to all of these companies! We hope that more join them as Election Day approaches. It’s ridiculous that such an important date for our democratic system of government is set for a Tuesday, and it’s even more ridiculous that so many people have so little flexibility in being able to exercise their democratic prerogative.
And here’s our final cliche for today, the one that explains and (hopefully) excuses all the others.
The importance voting cannot be overstated. While national attention is focused on the presidential race, all sorts of elected offices are on the November ballot. Senators and representatives, for both the U.S. Congress and the Kansas Statehouse. Local officials. And depending on the state, a plethora of other positions as well.
Margins in these contests can be incredibly tight. Every person’s vote matters and counts. But it won’t if you don’t cast it.
Our society has an obligation not only to inform citizens of the importance of voting, but also to make it as simple and easy as possible to do so. Barriers to voting inevitably disenfranchise those who have the most to lose in public policy decisions — those with lower-wage jobs, those with stretched schedules, those with large families or uncertain housing.
Big employers clearing space for their workers to vote sends a message: Everyone should show up Election Day. Everyone should make his or her voice heard.
Sure, it’s a cliche. But it’s also true.