I'm hearing it a lot today, and I think it misses the point:
"I don't care who you vote for, just vote."
You know what? I do care who you vote for. I care a whole hell of a lot because who you vote for affects my life. Your choices change my world, so I care very much how you make them.
This doesn't mean I only want people who think like me to vote. I would rather every candidate I support lose with 100% turnout of informed, dedicated voters than that my candidates and ideas sweep the country with 45% turnout. If all my friends and neighbors carefully considered their votes and decided that my opinions were wrong, then I would hope that I could trust their judgment.
Would I like it if my candidates and ideas all won? Of course; that's why I'm voting for them. I chose the candidates that best represented me, that I felt would govern well, that spoke reasonably and intelligently about things I'm passionate about. I chose the ballot initiatives that I believe will balance responsible community growth with fairness and compassion. Each vote represented someone or something I thought would help my community, my state, or my nation be the best it can be.
That's what I want of my fellow Americans. Don't vote "against that bastard." Don't cast reactionary votes against "anything at all that raises taxes". Don't vote a straight ticket (especially in places where there's not always a member of a given party in every race); even if you vote for every member of a political party running, consider every one of those votes carefully and deliberately, and make it individually. Look those names in the eye, as it were.
Vote your interests. Vote your conscience. Vote your future and the futures of the children in your life. Vote to make a better world. Vote to make a kinder world. Vote for men and women who demonstrate integrity even when they don't agree with you -- ESPECIALLY when they don't agree with you. Vote for people you're pretty sure are smarter than you, because there are tough and scary problems to solve. Vote for people with the courage to make difficult choices and the compassion to worry about whether they're making the right ones.
Vote for people who will make the changes in the world you want to see, and protect the things you treasure. Vote for ideas that will build a world where you want to live.
Vote with passion. Vote with compassion. Vote with one eye towards Beauty, and one towards Justice. Vote to improve the present and preserve the future.
But whatever you do, vote.