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Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald: Voting is our responsibility
One person can still make a difference.
Voting is our responsibility
The conventions are over. The debates are on. Front lawns display the names of favorite candidates, and the television ads-often ugly from both sides-are incessant. The elections are coming. It is time to decide.
Yes, the selection process may be too long. Yes, the primaries and campaigns spend too much money. And yes, Americans are very weary of negative tactics and campaign advertising. Still, I am here to celebrate our system. We still live in the greatest country in the history of this planet-the greatest experiment in freedom in the lifetime of our species. A jury trial of peers (“innocent until proven guilty”), one person = one vote, the opportunity for an affordable education, and an elected group of representatives accountable to their constituents are the tremendous gifts that our system offers and make the American experience much envied and imitated. What is our responsibility? What must we do to earn these benefits?
It is our responsibility to vote; it is more than our right. It is our duty to stay informed and involved, to keep the candidates honest, and to exercise our hard-earned right. We need to read and listen, find out about the candidates, and decide for ourselves. We need to decide not from a knee-jerk response but by making a decision based on carefully weighing what a candidate offers. Find out all that you can about these people. Take the time to weigh all the sides of an issue and identify the candidate's stance on the topic. Then take this information and measure it with your basic beliefs, your philosophy, and your moral and political yardstick. We do not have the luxury of reflex voting (union people voting for union people, evangelists voting for evangelists). We are all Americans-Republicans, Democrats, Independents, etc.-and we may disagree, but that is the beauty of our system. We can disagree. Our responsibility is to stay informed and involved. Read and listen, get all the information that you can. Then, based on this knowledge, vote with your conscience and your voice.
By staying involved and informed, we can make a difference. If we don't do this, we get the government that we deserve. A lot of people put it all on the line to allow us to have this privilege. Don't squander it. By voting, being knowledgeable about the issues, and letting our voices be heard, one person can still make a difference. But you have to work at it. You have to earn it. You do that by staying involved. It doesn't matter which way you lean, what matters is that you educate yourself, stay informed, and get involved.
See you next week, Kev