Every vote an exercise in preserving liberty

By Joan Clayton

Edmund Burke, a British statesman, has been reported as saying, “For evil to triumph, it is only necessary for good men to do nothing.”

Your vote is important. It is a privilege and a way to express your rights. Many Americans have given their lives for this privilege. Because of these brave men and women, the red, white and blue still waves over this land. The sacrifice of others has enabled our freedoms. Please never take that freedom for granted. One way of demonstrating your appreciation is by casting your vote.

Enjoying freedom requires responsibility and responsible citizens vote. To take advantage of the many opportunities of this great country and not vote is to shirk the duty of the American citizenry.

Maybe you are thinking, “My vote will not make any difference.” Wrong. Many elections have been won by one vote. In 1649, one vote caused Charles I of England to be executed. In 1776, one vote gave America the English language instead of German. In 1923, one vote gave Adolph Hitler leadership of the Nazi Party. In 1845, one vote brought Texas into the Union. In 1868, one vote saved President Andrew Johnson from being removed from office. In 1942, one vote saved Selective Service … just weeks before Pearl Harbor was attacked.

It’s a fact that in some parts of the world, people now have more freedom to express themselves religiously than do Americans. The reason the first settlers came to this country was to follow the dictates of their own conscience, to worship freely, to have free expression to vote and to have “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Understand the importance of your vote. Your vote has an effect on the future. Your vote makes a difference. The more people stay away from the polls, the more freedoms will be taken away.

I believe courageous citizens are great Americans who go to work every day, live by right choices, and believe in honesty, truth and honor. You see these people helping people. You see them volunteering in community service, and you see them at the polls to vote.

I salute them because they are the backbone of this nation and they keep this country together. Please don’t ever give up. May we all keep striving to leave a country for our children and grandchildren. Remember the worth of so many who have died to protect this land.

Hebrews 12:12 admonishes us not to lose heart. “So take a new grip with your tired hands, stand firm on your shaky legs and mark out a straight, smooth path for your feet so that those who follow you, though weak and lame, will not fall and hurt themselves, but become strong” (TLB).

When you vote, you are allowing your voice to be heard. Our founding fathers’ descendants are still carrying the torch of freedom. Red-blooded Americans still believe