Democracy and Elections
Tomorrow, November 6, 2012, millions of Americans will go to the polls and elect the next President of the United States. This has been a bitter campaign dominated by very real and serious divisions on social, economic and moral principles between the two major political parties, Democratic and Republican. Among the differences between the parties and their candidates, Barak Obama and Mitt Romney, are vital issues such as, how the government should be run, under what circumstances a woman can get an abortion, who should be taxed and how much, who is entitled to medical coverage and who is not and role of government in relation to citizens including whether or not there should be Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. I do not remember a time when the electorate in this country is so divided on these and other fundamental issues.
Yet, as Tom Brokaw, senior political analyst and retired commentator for NBC news, recently pointed out, regardless of who wins and loses the election when the day is over, there will be no tanks in the streets and no declaration of martial law with soldiers patrolling our neighborhoods. Instead, we will be united under our next leader. In the United States as well as other democracies around the world, ordinary citizens decide who will hold the reigns of power and who will lead all of the people, regardless of who did or did not vote for them. It is this right to vote and to give voice to our opinions and beliefs that makes democracy so unique in a world that is, by and large, ruled by military and religious dictators.
For these reasons, it is the responsibility of every citizen to cast their ballot in this and every other election. Living in a Democracy carries with it a responsibility to make decisions on the local and national levels. For example, that is why all of us get called for Jury Duty. It is not the government who decides guilt and innocence. It is citizens serving on juries who listed at trials and determine the innocence or guilt of one of their peers. It is the responsibility of the citizens to vote for city, state and national candidates who will lead our communities from the local village all the way to Washington D.C. In fact, any citizen who so desires, can run for public office and participate directly in the political process.
It is up to us, the people, to protect our freedom and to choose the next leader of our country in this and in all future elections and at every level of government.
Your comments are welcome.
Allan N. Schwartz, PhD