Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day in the United States

We don't get the day off today to vote, but most of us take time to do it, even if it means we lose our lunch hours or miss an hour at the gym, or make it home late to supper. We don't always have the best choices on the ballot: but for that we can only blame ourselves. Still, with our mother country, Great Britain, we invented the right of self determination by a nation of the enfranchised who limit their government by their own choice.

It isn't a perfect system by any means. A government of the people, by the people, and for the people is always subject to the corruption of some--Senator Ted Stevens of Alaksa comes to mind at present, but there have been others. As with cops and apples, there will always be a few that rot. And we have nets that often catch them, and then out they go.

Each election we make a transition to new leadership and we do it peacefully without soldiers, without coups, without deadly plots, without real rancor. We may not like the person who wins the day, but we know we can vote the rascal out on the next go 'round.

And then we go back to work.

There were a lot of promises made during this election. But the real promise of America is not what our government says it will give to us. It is in those moving words of our Declaration of Independence, penned by the genius of Thomas Jefferson:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

In most parts of the world today, these are still revolutionary concepts. Government not designed to be our mother and father, but to be our instrument. America does not promise each of us wealth and happiness. It promises us the opportunity to seek them. The concept must be popular. Else why do so many, critical always of us as too rich, too big, too materialistic--why do so many seek to come here?

Like my great grandfather Jan VerWolf of Holland, they come seeking opportunities that are not open to them at home. Some succeed. Some fail. All are Americans.

That's why we vote today.

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