Why every American should exercise their right to vote The Founding Fathers’ conception of liberty was an experiment that has proven largely successful. The document outlining and guaranteeing those liberties, the Constitution, has been used as a blueprint for emerging democratic nations throughout the world. The success or failure of this representative democracy depends on the participation of the citizens. If it fails in America, a domino affect might occur in other countries as the U.S., the most powerful economic and military nation, has been the driving and sustaining force behind the concept of freedom and democracy. The future of civil liberties, it can be said, is in the hands of the American people. One of the major methods by which to participate in the democratic process is by casting a ballot to elect representatives and decide issues at every level of government. The vote is the voice of the people, without which the experiment fails because the very foundations of the country were laid by the people and for the people. Although many Americans make an effort to keep informed on political issues and enthusiastically exercise their responsibility to vote, the majority of those eligible to vote will not. This fact remains an enduring puzzle in a nation that considers itself the very symbol of democracy. Evidently, the countries that copied this system of government appreciate it more than Americans. Most nations in Europe routinely see a larger percentage of its citizens at the polls. The elections in Iraq last December drew 70 percent of eligible voters. Americans do not vote in those numbers and do not have to brave the chaos present in Iraq to access the polling booth (Woodward, 2006). The founding principles of the U.S. have been deemed by many to be worth fighting and dying for. Many thousands of brave Americans have traveled to all parts of the world to give their lives for the concepts contained in the Constitution. They fought for the freedoms of strangers in strange lands so that these people might have the choice to decide their own destiny by the power of the vote. When citizens vote, they authenticate the sacrifice of those that have paid the ultimate price for the right to vote. According to Senator Ted Kennedy, Voting is one of the true blessings of liberty. That’s why people have died for it, and our democracy is diminished when even one American is denied that right (Patterson, 2005). Democracy is also diminished when Americans decide not to exercise that right. The governmental hierarchy is bound by the vote to not just listen to but react to what the public says. Complacency is the undoing of a system based on participation. By voluntarily giving up the freedom of choice, it depletes this Constitutional right for others to choose. This is a right that is revered by those who have and appreciate it and longed for by those that do not. The September 11 attacks brought the country together in a wave of nationalism but even that event did not seem to invoke a level of patriotism high enough that moved a greater percentage of citizens to make the effort to vote. If those American who do not feel the need to vote and are falsely confident that their freedoms are somehow perpetual without need of demonstrating them, they might consider those that do not have this freedom. Without the U.S. and other of the world’s democratic nations continuing to light the way of freedom, those who live under the rule of oppressive governments have little hope of realizing their dream of freedom. Voting is indeed a right and a privilege that was paid for with a heavy price. It is one of the most important ways that a populace shows it is free. All citizens of free countries should vote for the good of their own lives, in the memory and acknowledgment of those that sacrificed for the right and for those generations of people who will enjoy in the future what most Americans take for granted today.Works CitedPatterson, Crystal. Senator Kennedy on the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. TedKennedy.com. (2005). November 24, 2006 Woodward, Calvin. Why do so few people vote in the U.S.? The Boston Globe. (November 5, 2006). November 24, 2006

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