Have you ever been in a crowd of people as a presentation of some kind is taking place? Whether it is a speech or a show of some sort, I think we’ve all experienced this at one time or another.
The subject reaches whatever point in what he or she is doing. It may be at the very end or a significant break. The room is quiet up to that point. Then, one person claps. It breaks the silence and sometimes sounds a bit out of place, but often, what happens next? Someone else claps. Then someone else.
The next you know, everyone is clapping.
Applause is arguably one of the most beautiful sounds we hear. Even better, it is universal. It sounds the same in every language.
This Election Day, I have heard so many people say they do not plan on voting. Throughout this election cycle, these same folks say they his or her vote does not matter, as they are ‘just’ one person.
I once thought this very same thing. I happened to be at a Baltimore Ravens football game in 2008 and Election Day was a few weeks away. It was actually my first time voting. During a break in the action, I wondered, “Should I even bother with this? Millions of people will be voting. How will my vote make any real difference? It’s not as if it will come down to my vote and my vote alone. There may not even be any real point.”
At that moment, the crowd cheered. At first, I lost track of what was happening, but then I found out that old highlights were shown on the Jumbotron (non-sports fans, that just the huge video monitor at each stadium or arena which of course, plays videos, but also shows the game we’re all watching in case you happen to be in a section and can’t see the action itself).
I looked around and watched everyone applaud. The funny thing was, at that moment, I wondered how in the world is applause so LOUD? It’s nothing more than a combination of each individual person clapping and from each person, it’s really not that loud.
But oh…together? It sounded AMAZING.
That’s when it hit me. One person absolutely CAN make a difference.
I could go through the whole speech about how people have fought and died for our right to vote. But quite frankly, that doesn’t mean a whole lot to some. But if it means something to you, yet you feel as though your vote may not matter, think about applause.
Seriously. Just take a second, right now, close your eyes if you’re able, and think about people applauding.
Beautiful sound, isn’t it?
Remember this. Applause is not ONE sound. Sure, the word represents a unit, but the sound itself is not one. It is a collection of individual people clapping.
When you are in a large crowd and one person claps, it’s true that it is barely heard. So why isn’t it the same when everyone claps? After all, each clap is at about the same volume. How does it sound the way it does?
Science and physics majors, don’t ruin this for me. I know the science behind it. Just humor me for a second.
Have you ever been in a television store where all the televisions are running? For me, it doesn’t actually sound louder in there, if that makes sense. It just sounds like several TVs are going at the same time.
So with applause, why doesn’t it all stay at about the same volume? Why does it seems louder at the highest point than others?
Science folks, I gotcha. Just stay with me a little longer.
As easy as it to feel that one vote does not matter, it absolutely does. In thinking of applause, if each person does not clap, we have nothing. Each person has to decide to clap. It’s not as if one person clapping will make the huge sound for the entire crowd. That beautiful sound never happens if not for each individual person. Those claps have to all come together to get what we hear.
Now, for those of us in this country, each individual can contribute to the beautiful “sound” that makes up the voting process. The beautiful “sound” that will determine who our next president will be. That beautiful “sound” that is democracy. That beautiful “sound” of people coming together and exercising a right that one, not every other country in the world has, and two, not every person in even THIS country has always had. Even when voting began, yes, people fought and died for the right to do so because it was NOT something afforded to everyone. Now it is.
When you are in that crowd of people and you contribute to that applause, even though you can hear yourself clapping and you know that your clapping really isn’t that loud, it still feels pretty good to be doing it, doesn’t it? You look around and you still feel like you are a REAL part of that applause.
Could you stop? Sure. If you didn’t clap, would everyone notice? Maybe not. But think about how great it feels to clap and how nice that applause sounds.
The bottom is, that sounds absolutely does NOT happen if not for each individual person making the decision to clap. The beautiful democracy of this country is not what it is, if not for each individual standing up and saying, “Yes. My vote does count. My vote does matter. I will contribute.”
So for those of you who feel as though you don’t matter, let me tell you that you absolutely do.
So, please…get out there and VOTE TODAY.
Let’s contribute to this country’s next “applause.”