A Basic Plea, to Exercise a Basic Right

by Richard G. Johnstone Jr., Exec. Editor

Richard Johnstone

This Election Day, the citizens of our Republic will make some major decisions, including who’ll reside in the White House for the next four years, and which party will control the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Please don’t let the partisan divide in our nation serve as a chasm that keeps you from getting to the polls. If you’re happy with the incumbents, vote. If you prefer the challengers, vote. If you’re not happy with either, make a difficult choice and vote.

Vote your conscience; vote your values; vote your interests. But the important thing, the crucial thing, the imperative for each of us as citizens, must be to participate in the process. To express our views through the ballot. To vote.

Sometimes forgotten in the avalanche of attack ads, of hectoring, haranguing debate exchanges, of misused and misunderstood sound bites, and of speculative “what-ifs” from political pundits is this fact: the media and the politicians often influence, but don’t determine, who runs the nation. You do. But your voice is heard only if you speak out. Only if you engage in the most basic right of a free people, the right to vote.

So please be sure to exercise this right on Nov. 6. And meanwhile, to help epitomize the importance of average men and women like us to the success, indeed the survival, of this democratic process, we herewith share some choice quotes about voting, gleaned from across the political spectrum, and across the centuries.

 “Government is too big and important to be left to the politicians.”  — Chester Bowles, 20th-century American business leader and diplomat

 “People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote —  a very different thing.”  — Walter H. Judd, 20th-century American missionary, congressman, editor and radio commentator

 “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories.”  — Thomas Jefferson, Virginian, 3rd U.S. president, statesman, philosopher, inventor, architect and founder of The University of Virginia

 “Of the many things we have done to democracy in the past, the worst has been the indignity of taking it for granted.”  — Max Lerner, 20th-century American author and newspaper columnist

 “Do the unexpected. Take 20 minutes out of your day, do what young people all over the world are dying to do: vote.”    Rick Mercer, contemporary Canadian humorist and political observer

 “The most important political office is that of the private citizen.”   — Louis Brandeis, early 20th-century U.S. Supreme Court justice and legal scholar

 “Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong.”  — Richard Armour, 20th-century literary scholar and writer of popular light verse

 “Every two years the American politics industry fills the airwaves with the most virulent, scurrilous, wall-to-wall character assassination of nearly every political practitioner in the country — and then declares itself puzzled that America has lost trust in its politicians.”   — Charles Krauthammer, contemporary syndicated columnist, political commentator and physician

 “Mankind will never see an end of trouble until ... lovers of wisdom come to hold political power, or the holders of power ... become lovers of wisdom.”  — Plato, ancient Greek philosopher and founder of the first institution of higher learning in the Western World 



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