11/05/2014 04:03 pm ET Updated Jan 05, 2015

Why Not Make Voting Mandatory Like Jury Duty?

I went into a very dark space last night, and as a person who typically sees the glass half-empty (albeit cracked) well...I fell into the crack. As an immigrant, now American citizen, I speak from a crevice of some knowledge. As an activist who can always do more, should do more, to fight for equal rights and human dignity for all, I speak from a crevice of some action. As a person who makes mistakes and has missed some voting over the years due to not planning absentee ballots in advance, I speak from a crevice of some honesty. And, as a person who spent hours working with others to make it easier for friends to understand where to vote; how to vote; who to vote for, I speak from a crevice of frustration and even resentment.

I am not here to say who to vote for, I am here to challenge our system to make it mandatory. If you want to have a driver's license and assume you now have the right to drive on good roads, well, we should have the right to insist you vote first. If you want to be able to rush into an emergency room and be attended to, well, we should have the right to insist you understand the health choices and vote accordingly. If you feel a police person or fire person should be at your house within minutes of your 911 call, then we should insist you understand and vote accordingly for the laws of our country. The same goes for education; equal rights; employment; water; environment; etc.

"We" being the people who live and work in the USA -- the people who respect how lucky we are to live in a country where we have choices.

Do you remember the millions of people who stood in a line for days to vote for President Nelson Mandela? Each one of those people changed history.

I shall end by stating we should also make it mandatory to bring back some patriotic pride. Stop putting our own country down, or feeling ashamed or less than. I always call myself Zimbabwean, and I am also very proud to be an American citizen. When I lived in Africa and worked in philanthropy, the most generous country was always America. Many of my closest friends, not to mention my immediate family are American. Curious, funny, smart and above all compassionate.

Come on America! Let's please wake up and remember just how lucky we are and never ever have the low turnout we did yesterday.