EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE
An American Celebration of Diversity, Thought, Freedom and Responsibility…
“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
Vote! Let your voice be heard. This blog is not an opinion of candidates or issues; Lord knows we have been bombarded with numerous messaging whether through media, social networking, churches and organizations. Instead, I am writing this post in celebration of You and your right to express your views through the political system. The fabric of the United States is celebrated by our uniqueness of diversity and the right of free speech to stand up for what You believe as an individual and for the nation. The right to vote in the United States is one of our most treasured freedoms as a citizen in the participation of our Democracy; but a true Democracy works when all of our citizens’ voices are heard by casting a Vote on Election Day.
In the 2008 presidential election, 64 percent of voting-age citizens voted, an estimate not statistically different from the percent that turned out in 2004, but higher than the presidential elections of 2000 and 1996. Overall, 131 million people voted in 2008, a turnout increase of about 5 million people since 2004. During this same 4-year period, the voting-age citizen population in the United States increased by roughly 9 million people. In 2008, 71 percent of voting-age citizens were registered to vote, a decrease compared to the 72 percent who were registered in 2004. The 2008 election had a higher registration rate than the presidential election of 2000, but was not statistically different from the 1996 rate. Overall, 146 million people were registered to vote in 2008, an increase of approximately 4 million people since 2004. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” Thomas Paine
Vote! Building blocks of Democracy from local, state and national levels. In recent election cycles, frustration has grown and voices are louder of the disappointment of representation by the leaders placed in local, state and national government positions. However, these elected officials are a reflection of our treasured voting process. An example of disappointment is the alarming 10% approval rating that Congress received in the most recent national poll. There appears to be a disconnect of the elected officials voting record and the Will of the People they serve. But this is our Democracy and the key to the engine of Representation is our participation in the voting process. For those that voted in the recent election cycles, the citizen representation matches the voices heard at the ballot box. Historic data reveals that a majority of citizens do not take the opportunity to vote in non-Presidential elections. (Source: United States Census Bureau, Voting Population Percentages by State, Congressional Elections, 1974-2010)
“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” John Quincy Adams
Vote! Your Value System. The beauty of our citizenry is that each person’s value system is unique and when You choose to participate on election day your vote contributes to this country’s great experiment called Democracy by choosing the person that comes closest to your values.
We begin in life with a set of values of right and wrong instilled in us by our caregivers; whether it is our parents, family members or mentored by the person that raised us. These infused values can be reinforced over time or changed by our life experiences as lessons in life help us grow. In the political framework many of us will choose the political party that reflects closest to these set of values as a Democrat, Republican or Independent with no party affiliation, sensing that the major parties are not a true representation of You. Occasionally, we will switch party affiliation because a party has morphed into another identity beyond our comfort level.
“The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.” Lyndon B. Johnson
Vote! Honor the Diversity of this Great Nation. Today’s political environment thrives on divisiveness and polarization to score quick points of sound-bites and gotcha moments. The media feeds off this to help with ratings as this is their top priority of competitive survival. Talking heads, 24 hours a day, fill air-time with an agenda to sway voters and inflame emotions of a heated conversation with extreme rhetoric, yelling across the table and airwaves.
Differing points of view in our every day life should be celebrated and evaluated as a learning moment of why someone thinks different from You. We should honor and respect each others point of view because there should be no doubt that we love this great Nation the same. These conversations among family, friends and coworkers are far more insightful than a paid spokesperson’s targeted agenda of incitement.
“Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature…. If the next centennial does not find us a great nation … it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.” James Garfield, the twentieth president of the United States, 1877
Vote! The only thing constant is change. I will conclude by emphasizing the importance of voting in this election as well as future political cycles. You will vote on the near future and generational foundation of years to come. This nation and the world are ever changing. Help participate by one vote, Your Vote!
It is more important than ever that each of us exercise the precious right to vote as a citizen of the United States of America. Take advantage of this wonderful responsibility! You do make a difference in the political process and shaping the future of the United States and the world.
VOTE EACH ELECTION CYCLE
All the best – Kenneth Bargers