Voting Makes You Big And Strong

Patrick McCorkle
3 min readApr 12, 2024


Last week, wet snow all around, I wondered why I was walking. I was tired after a long day at work and the weather was terrible. So why didn’t I drive?

Walking to my polling place makes me appreciate the right to vote even more. I have no phone or radio to distract me. Therefore, I think about the sacrifices needed for me to vote. All the way back to the Founders for creating the Constitution and Bill of Rights, then moving on through the statesmen and pioneers such as Frederick Douglass and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who helped extend our democracy to those initially left out.

Both of my grandfathers fought in WWII. While both returned, they knew many who didn’t. Such is the terrible price of freedom, and with it, the right to vote.

Democracy in the U.S.A. is the product of countless individuals. I have incurred a debt that cannot be repaid. Still, I try to repay it by voting as much as I can.

The April 2nd Wisconsin election wasn’t monumental- it featured a few local offices, a couple of state referendums and the presidential primary. A fair amount of the races were uncompetitive, including the presidential primary. Some might ask, why bother? Especially when the weather is awful.

In addition to the above reasons mentioned, I argue that voting is one of the healthiest things to do in an era of polarization and disfunction. As newsman Bob Schieffer’s mother used to say, voting makes you feel “big and strong.” I tried to articulate that in my half prose, half poem “The Voting Booth” and its revision.

Voting is doing something constructive, rather than consuming harmful media or getting into a heated argument with a friend or associate. Voting moves the wheels of the democracy machine.

Even if a race is uncompetitive, I still get to speak my mind. My vote gives a smidgen of accountability to our politicians. By itself, yes, it’s a drop in an ocean of votes. But the ocean is ultimately composed of many drops. If everyone thought voting was useless, there wouldn’t be any elections. Ask yourself: what would happen if no one voted? If the ocean of votes dried up.

On my way to vote this past Tuesday, I asked myself some questions. They might help you navigate the current political hellhole.

What can I control politically? What can I change politically? How do I exercise control and enact change in our political system?

The answer always returns to voting. I can chose my local school board, representative, judges and so on. Since fewer people vote in those elections, my vote has more impact. Though I wish this weren’t the case.

What makes me feel hopeful about our political system? What helps keep the polarization and nastiness away?

Again, I return to voting. As I wrote in “The Voting Booth,” I am safe when I am voting. Nobody, either that I know personally or annoying talking heads, can talk to me. I don’t have to listen to anyone else except my own conscience and values. I’m engaged in a dance with the booth, the dance of democracy. As long as the secret ballot remains in effect, the sanctity of the voting booth is preserved.

It’s easy to lose this truth in a never ending avalanche of negativity. There’s no shortage of wars, economic depressions and recessions, fatal accidents, true crime, environmental problems and so on. You are powerless to stop most of it in a grand, holistic sense.

But when you vote, you are keeping the vision of so many alive. You are keeping democracy’s wheels moving, Every amount, no matter how tiny, matters. You have a chance to move your city, state or country closer to the solutions you want.

Another perk: It’s free. Your tab has already been paid.



Patrick McCorkle

I am a young professional with keen interests in politics, history, foreign languages and the arts.