Exercise your right, freedom to vote
Published 4:33 pm Wednesday, October 30, 2002
By By Lindsey Sherrill
In the United States of America we have been granted freedoms more generously than have any other people in any other nation in the world. For over two hundred years our country has fought, prospered and grown. We have seen tremendous sorrow and great joy, the hell of defeat and the elysium of victory. Throughout all that we have faced as a people, America has stood strong because her people have been with very few exceptions, united. This unity of spirit can be traced from the national level to the states, districts, counties, and local governments.
The people of the United States elect over 500,000 people to office. Out of these 500,000, only 537 are at the national level. This means that the remaining 499,463 races are decided in local and state elections-elections such as next Tuesday's.
The power of the people to vote is one of the most incredible and important given to citizens of any nation and most especially of America. Over the past fifty years there has been an alarming trend in the number of members of the electorate that are actually voting. This is alarming because it is an indication of the apathy that can undermine the very structure of a democracy. Suffrage is a right that has long been sought after and fought for by many groups for many years and should not be taken lightly. The ancient Greeks realized the importance of voting. In fact, the word "idiot" comes from the Greek word "idiotes", meaning one who did not vote or who was voluntarily ignorant of public matters. These ancient people realized that the refusal to vote was a refusal to have a hand (and thus a legitimate opinion) on the life of the nation.
The principles the Greeks upheld are just as, if not more, relevant today than they were 2,000 years ago. Choosing not to vote on November 5, whether it be in a state or local election, is the equivalent of the voter saying, "I don't care." Voting and the power to choose are the foundation of the republic. The interest and involvement of the citizens is what has made America great and is the only thing that can keep her such. If the citizens choose to continue the detrimental trend of apathy toward their responsibilities, then, most assuredly, they will no longer have to worry about them, for freedom without responsibility is sure to be a short lived phenomenon.
Remember that every vote counts. Get out and vote November 5. It is not only your right as an American but also your duty.