Wednesday’s Republican debate brought home why Election Day in the United States is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

If you’ll connect the dots with me, you’ll see a sequence of interrelated events that’s emblematic of the unintentional genius of American democracy. Last week’s cage match dressed up as a presidential debate was followed by Halloween kids dressed up as monsters. Two macabre nights are followed by two holy days of mourning the dead, and then there’s Election Day.

You see, for Christians – yours truly and all GOP contenders running for president – Nov. 1 is All Saints Day, a liturgical holiday that honors those worshipped after death because of their abundant virtue, and Nov. 2 is All Souls Day, a holiday to commemorate regular people who are just dead, not beatified. Nov. 3 is Election Day – a holiday of sorts – that gives the living a chance to do something meaningful to change the world.

Our system of government will forgive me for draping a secular cloth over holy days for the purpose of making a political point, and that is my point. Our system of government must be treasured and not taken for granted, regardless of the number of fools who presently govern or aspire to “ungovern.” It is a system that will outlive ghoulish personalities if used properly.

Election Day is my favorite day of the year. It’s a day that honors my constitutional right to be simultaneously religious, expressive, liberal and “the media,” among other things.

Election Day connects dots between righteousness, folly, idolatry and lost opportunity.

Enough has been said about the GOP debate – a fight among chanticleers – and channeling Ted Cruz, we can imagine the candidates in Halloween costume extracting goodies and performing tricks, but then what?

The saint of Republican politics is Ronald Reagan, and for Democrats it’s John F. Kennedy. For the posterity of party identity, honoring these men and their values is a worthy exercise, but rigorous scrutiny easily uncovers fallibility. Reagan raised taxes, expanded government, gave amnesty to immigrants and secretly funneled weapons to Iran. Kennedy was a Catholic Casanova. Even saints have an Achilles heel.

Government souls memorialized in portraits hanging in public buildings watch over us as we conduct the mundane day-to-day business of bureaucracy, begging the question of whether all the good guys are already dead, and the answer lies within each of us. We the living people have a moral obligation to vote and put new portraits on the wall. We must never stop searching for new saints or helping to forge new heroes. Voting is a sacrament and privilege of citizenry.

Republicans should vote because it’s their personal responsibility.

Democrats should vote because of the equal opportunity to shape the future.

Independents wandering around purgatory searching for ideology should vote because it’s their civic duty. Regardless of political or religious stripe, soon we will all be dead, but for now all Americans are called upon to watch the spectacle of debates, endure the pageantry of campaigns, worship the saints of politics past and remember the dead. But come Election Day we must vote.

Choose life, don’t settle for it. Stop complaining about a system that you have the power to change. Be remembered for doing something other than cynically whining about the partisanship of the present and instead be mindful of the partisanship of the past that ultimately had the capacity to end wars, abolish slavery, recognize civil rights, cherish freedom and insist upon a government run by the governed.

Today is All Saints Day so honor your patron saints. Tomorrow is All Souls Day so honor the dead, but on Tuesday be alive. Vote.

Cynthia Dill is a civil rights lawyer and former state senator. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Twitter: dillesquire

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