That’s because it’s likely only a small group of Americans will decide our country’s future. Traditionally, only 40 percent of eligible voters turn out for mid-term elections on average, compared with 60 percent for presidential elections.
In the Senate, 33 seats could change which could tip the balance of power for the subsequent six years.
Voting is just one of the many privileges too many citizens of the United States take for granted. Many do not believe the rights they have enjoyed their entire lives can be taken away from them, but they are wrong.
It takes actively involved citizens to protect our fragile democracy. The American origin story and its legacy are not only unique to our globe, they’re nothing short of miracles and we need to advocate for what we enjoy.
In my work, as in my thought, I am always inspired by these three founding U.S. principles:
1. The American Revolution has outlasted competing ideologies. Since 1776, many other revolutions have come and gone. That includes the Russian Revolution which has all but disappeared and left a country with an identity crisis. The Chinese Revolution which has morphed into something unrecognizable from its original ideology, and the Cuban Revolution which has proven to be an unsustainable economic burden for its people. Rather than attempt to force an entire country to conform to an unrealistic ideology, the U.S. founding fathers proposed a Bill of Rights that continues to shape the history of the world.
2. Individuality, free speech, the right to bear arms and religion are all protected. Enlightened Western nations have to pay taxes to support religious institutions of which many citizens are not participants. In England, it’s the Church of England. In Germany, it’s the Catholic Church. The United States does not make anyone support any church. We can worship and financially support what we choose. This emphasis on individual rights often provides more momentum to our social movements, such as the tea party or Occupy Wall Street because people can choose what they support.
3. As our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms protect us, it’s our duty as stewards of the Constitution to protect freedom. When people say nasty things, it’s tempting for some groups to call for the censorship of one’s speech. When someone does something barbaric with a gun, even more people call for severe limitations on one’s right to bear arms. If living in a free society were easy, more countries would be doing it. There are many countries throughout the world that are experimenting with a free society, including some in the Middle East and North Africa. Egypt, for example, is finding out just how difficult freedom is to maintain. While terrorist groups may seek to fell the system of governing we were fortunate enough to inherit, we also need to make sure domestic efforts to chip away our liberties are not successful.
(Editor’s Note: This guest “Viewpoint” has been written and submitted to the Cleveland Daily Banner by Merrilyn Richardson, former editor of Air Force bases newspapers. With a journalism degree from Texas Tech University, she is now 89 and continues writing on spiritual subjects to provide a basis for understanding the human condition. She is a founding member of the Center for Spiritual Living in Midland, Texas. Her most recent books include “Initiation of the Master” and “The Master’s Quest, an End to Terrorism.”)