Op-Ed: Make Veterans' Day Election Day

We can honor our veterans, encourage our democracy and remind ourselves what the military is there to defend by making election day the same day as Veterans' Day.

Happy Veterans’ Day, and a hearty thank you to those who have put themselves in harm’s way, and those who have died to protect the United States of America. These men and women go well beyond the sacrifices that most of us ever make to our country, and they absolutely deserve our recognition. Here is a proposal that directly ties what they do, to the freedom that we enjoy, and largely take for granted: make Veterans’ Day election day.

Veterans’ Day celebrates not just the people who defend our way of life, but that way of life itself. Veterans’ Day honors what we have, and what much of the world does not: a participatory democracy. By bringing these two days together, we will be reminded not just of our veterans, but what they fight for.

As for election day, many have argued that it should be a national holiday to facilitate turnout. This is an option, but another option is to use the national holiday that occurs the very next week. The connection to our veterans would emphasize that voting is an act of patriotism, a belief that representing ourselves one vote at a time makes this nation better.

Finally, by reminding us what veterans fight for, we would encourage a conversation about when it is right to ask them to go into combat, and when it just isn’t worth it. With each military intervention, we ought to ask if we are making the world more free or multinational companies more rich. If we do believe that voting is a basic right, and that our military exists to defend our basic rights, it would benefit both causes to bring the two together by making Veterans’ Day and election day the same day.

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