We The People: Voting is both a right and a responsibility

It is that time of year when citizens are able to exercise their right to vote and select who will lead them in the future.  This Tuesday, November 4, citizens chose a governor, attorney general and congressmember.  There were many races for state legislators as well.

Unfortunately, voters do not always have a candidate who possesses ability, drive and dedication who would be a clear cut choice for office. There are many citizens who fail to exercise their right to vote and waste their precious privilege.

The privilege comes with responsibility. The fundamental responsibility is to make sure that every citizen exercises the privilege. It is ensconced in our Constitution and protected by our laws. Many brave Americans have died to preserve every citizen’s right to vote.

It seems like many people would prefer to act indifferent to the political process as if that was proof that they were not naïve about the ways of the world. They are mistakenly combining indolence with ignorance. That is a perfect recipe for corruption in public office.

In our democracy, a representative republic, we, by necessity, already concentrate the power of the many into the hands of the few. When citizens refuse to take part in the process of selecting representatives, they have given all power to a small minority of well motivated or well financed persons.

We the people must make the best choice out of the candidates available, we must become informed about the issues that face society, and we must be involved in the process of supporting other citizens for public office. In our system of political parties, we somehow manage to select candidates and elect leaders. Every complaint about our political system or about an individual politician should be addressed with a corresponding question, “What have you done to contribute to the political debate?”

If one looks closely at the history of America, confidence in our innate ability to overcome incredible obstacles should be strengthened.

During World War II, America became the arsenal of democracy and the savior of Western Civilization. President Franklin D. Roosevelt inspired confidence with a steadfast and implacable demeanor despite personal, social, political and military challenges.

He said that he would put the troubles of the day out of his mind and concentrate on working as hard as possible to fashion solutions. If the people of America concentrated on making the political process more accessible, more transparent and more responsive to the issues that matter most to the people then there would be less of a place for cynicism, ignorance and indifference. The first step is to become informed.

Three people were shot in East Elmhurst, homicides are on the rise in East New York and we have experienced another school shooting in the state of Washington.

If we believe that sensible regulations would reduce the accessibility of firearms, especially military style firearms, to criminals and disturbed persons then we should work hard to have the unholy alliance of the NRA and gun manufacturers with the Republican Party end.

We can find liberal and conservative candidates who refuse to be influenced by the money of the gun lobby. It would take an involved citizenry that informs itself about important issues.

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