Crawl across glass if you have to, but get out and vote today.

At times the rhetorical significance of this election cycle may seem a bit overstated, but let me assure you it is that important. This election is one of the big ones that happen only every once in a while. It is a time when we must pause and then decide which direction to pursue as a nation.

We have arrived at this crossroads while tugging in different directions. The choices are stark. Do we move on together, or are we forever divided? Do we continue on the same path we have followed for more than 240 years, or do we chart a new course?

Some would choose a new path away from our foundings and traditions. Still others seek a clearer understanding of our past and hold fast to what has bound us together as a nation and a people. It is that profound a time in our history.

The smooth and unfettered transition of power has made America a shining beacon that others have looked to for guidance for centuries. But now, our tradition of peaceful elections is threatened as fear spreads across the land. We cannot let this happen.

The freedom to dissent and to express our differences is under attack. The fear of reprisal over disagreements of opinion and the threat of violence looms large over this election cycle. The very spirit of America is challenged when citizens are intimidated by those who see things differently.

Americans must fulfill the promise of this great nation by stepping forward to vote, fearless of reprisal or intimidation, and then accept the verdict once the people have spoken.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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