Multiple choice: a part of our freedom

America is a nation of voters. Of course, there are millions who aren't registered, and millions more who, for various reasons, don't vote. Perhaps they're tired of voting. They're sick of the unending array of nagging, stressful choices that are thrust upon us every day.

Vote, vote, vote - that's all we ever do. We vote in real elections, and fake ones - "If the presidential election were held today ..." pollsters muse - and everything in between. From the moment we wake up, to the moment we go to bed, it's a referendum on daily life. Do we start with Corn Chex or yogurt? Wear a sweater or vest? Take the train to work or drive?

And that's just for openers.

No sooner does the day begin than we're forced to make yet more choices: Low-carb, no-fat, decaf, single-breasted, double-knit, high-octane, low-impact, right now!

All that, mind you, before we even get to work.

If voting is, by definition, expressing an opinion or choice, then we're all perennial voters.

Nor do we reserve our opinions for the purely personal. We'll happily cast our vote to elect a Survivor, Apprentice, or American Idol. If "Idol," whose winners are chosen by viewer votes, is the most truly populist of the shows, "Apprentice" is the least. Whether viewers preferred Kwame or Bill last spring was beside the point; Donald Trump is an electoral college of one, his vote the reason for the show's being.

There's no end to the litany of issues we're asked to opine about. Given this chronic taking of our collective pulse, you'd think we were well-versed in the business of voting. But apparently not.

Somehow, for millions of Americans, there's a disconnect between the personal choices we make each day and the civic ones we face every four years. Truth is, the choices are all part of the same continuum. Never mind whether the issue is double latte or Democrat. What matters is the availability of choices and our freedom to choose.

Joan Silverman is a freelance writer.

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