Carrying Out My Civic Duty: I Voted

I voted today.

Today was the last day of early voting for Tennessee, so I took advantage and stopped by the polling station, book in hand, to carry out my civic duty. I brought a book because I knew the line would be long and, while it moved at a steady pace, it still took an hour and a quarter to get through the process. It was well worth the time.

The evolution of the right to vote is as long as the nation’s history. Initially, voting was limited to adult white male property owners. Only as the decades rolled along was the right to vote expanded, first to all white male citizens, then to all male citizens regardless of race or color, then to women, then to Native Americans, then to the residents of Washington, D.C. (for national elections), then to all citizens over the age of eighteen. Expanding the right to vote involved a process of amending the U.S. Constitution (which, curiously, does not include a right to vote for all citizens) mostly by forbidding or removing obstacles to voting that states had established for particular groups of people.

Election cycles are contentious times for the country, but this election cycle has been especially so. I have never before read of so many incidents of violence or voter intimidation being carried out across the country. Even still, people are getting out to vote in record numbers, so the reports tell us. Perhaps the issues and the seeming glaring differences between the two major presidential candidates have sharpened people’s interest and enthusiasm. Whatever the case, it is inspiring to see such large numbers of people in line to exercise a right that is still denied to so many around the world. The United States has been around for over 230 years now, and we are still living under the same Republic. In contrast, France has had five Republics since the French Revolution (1789-1799). We have never suffered the violent overthrow or transition of governments. Our transitions have been peaceful and civilized. Yes, there has been tension, hostility, corruption, and political wheeling and dealing, but we have almost always seen our way through peacefully each election cycle, regardless of who has won or lost. The sole exception was when the Southern states seceded after the election of Abraham Lincoln as President. Our ancestors fought a war to prove that such secession was illegal and that a violent response to a peaceful election would not be tolerated. We’ve never again come close to such extremes.

So, take the time to vote. It is a precious right we have as citizens and free persons living in a free country. Don’t take it for granted. When the people stop caring, the elites are only too happy to grab whatever more power they can.

God bless America!

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

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