“An election is like a flash of lightning at midnight. You get an instantaneous photograph of what every man is doing. You see his real relation toward his government.” Those words, written more than a century ago by John Jay Chapman, may be the perfect description of this year’s presidential election.

Chapman, a political activist, was a passionate reformer who understood the potential power of the ordinary citizen voter. He also understood and exposed the competing array of political interests seeking to persuade, confuse or subdue the people whose votes would be the final word.

Unlike the polling and predictions leading up to Nov. 6, Election Day will be the defining illumination, created by tens of millions of points of light. Unlike the analyses and explanations that will follow, this will be an irrefutable image of America’s preferences. The only thing that can create this image is the people who cast their ballots, for president, for other elected offices, and on many important ballot questions.

Be somebody. Vote.

Randolph Arndt, Clarksville