By Scott Westerman
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“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
Every election day, I marvel at how many people don’t vote. In the last Presidential election something like 1 in 5 voters cast a ballot. Yet we all love to complain about the politicians we send to do our bidding. Washington’s gridlock, the size of government, our taxes and the entitlement programs we depend on are all the by products of election day. And every election is determined by the people who show up.
Nixon Administration Secretary of the Treasury, William E. Simon, pointed out that, “Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don’t vote.”
I respect those who vote, even if I don’t agree with their politics. They are exercising the most basic, yet most powerful right that makes America the great nation we are.
This election, every election, each of us has a responsibility to exercise due diligence, to understand the issues and the people who want represent our interests in elected office. We may not agree with every position. Sometimes it’s an exercise in selecting the least objectionable alternative. “Democracy,” humorist Robert Byrne wryly observed, “is being allowed to vote for the candidate you dislike least.”
But choose we must. And a decision -not- to vote is also a choice that comes with consequences. Ask two questions of everyone who wants to argue politics with you: Did they vote? And what do they intend to do about it? How they answer those two questions determine whether or not you will continue the conversation.
And remember the wisdom of the Greek statesman and orator, Pericles, who said, “Just because you do not take an interest in politics, does not mean that politics won’t take an interest in you.”
Whatever your political persuasion, I hope you’ll make its ultimate statement, with your vote on November 8th. The future of your world depends on it.