Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day-Our Most Precious Tradition

     Election day always makes me think of the connection it provides to the founding of this great nation. It was, after all, the right to choose representatives in our government that fueled the American Revolution and gave rise to the greatest expansion of Liberty ever in the history of man. And it all started with the right, privilege, and duty of voting. In this age of cynicism there are some who may say voting does not matter, that anyone who engages in this passé activity is just a pawn of a system run by big business and big government. So if that is true, then how does not voting help mitigate that system?
     Those who would say it does not matter, that one's vote does not count because of the fraud involved in the process, are only continuing the fraud by not voting. Besides, since the first residents of the city/state of ancient Greece voted, there has been deception and fraud in the process. Where there are men involved, larceny and greed can not be far behind. And just as those ancient Greeks knew, the duty of every citizen towards self governance is exercising their vote. To do any less would mean to be unworthy of Liberty.
     Some have blamed modern electronic voting for an increase in voter fraud, but I have not seen one empirical study that shows that is true. Besides, paper ballots were not the paragon of voting virtue some now make them out to be. Remember the 2000 presidential election with the hanging and pregnant chads? Or the trunk load of paper ballots found in the trunk of a poll worker's car that gave Al Franken his Senate seat in 2008?
     So as this final day of voting in the 2014 mid-term elections advances into the twilight of election history, let us remember the words of Calvin Coolidge, thirtieth president of the United States of America, spoken on an election day in 1924:
          All the opportunity for self-government through the rule of the people depends upon one single factor. That is the ballot box.... The people of our country are sovereign. If they do not vote they abdicate that sovereignty, and they may be entirely sure that if they relinquish it others will seize it, and if they fail to govern themselves some other power will rise up to govern them. The choice is always before them, whether they will be slaves, or whether they will be free. The only way to be free is to exercise actively and energetically the privileges, and discharge faithfully the duties which make freedom. It is not to be secured by passive resistance. It is the result of energy and action....
          Persons who have the right to vote are trustees for the benefit of their country and their countrymen. They have no right to say they do not care. They must care! They have no right to say whatever the result of the election they can get along. They must remember that their country and their countrymen cannot get along, cannot remain sound, cannot preserve its institutions, cannot protect its citizens, cannot maintain its place in the world, unless those who have the right to vote do sustain and do guide the course of public affairs by the thoughtful exercise of that right on election day. 


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