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Preserve American democracy by voting this Nov. 4

On Nov. 4, the most eagerly anticipated presidential election in a generation will take place. Many agree it will be historical. The stakes are much higher than ever before.

“The fate of our democracy and indeed our civilization is arguably at stake,” said one strategist, so I need not tell you how important it is for your voice to be heard.

Both candidates are ready and willing. Now if we could only find one who is able.

Webster’s dictionary defines “politics” as “the science and art of government” and a “politician” as “one versed or experienced in the science of government.” In our democratic form of government, you cannot have one without the other. But based on previous presidential elections, I fear that on this Election Day many voting booths will be empty.

I don’t necessarily agree with everything I say. — presidential candidates U.S. Sens. Barack Obama (D−Ill.) and John McCain (R−Ariz.)

Before every Election Day, I engage my friends and family in a discussion about their presidential choices to pique their interest in the upcoming elections. But, as their wont, more than half refuse to vote, citing other “important” obligations. What they are I do not know. It is their prerogative, but why their reluctance?

The Democratic candidate on his campaign said, “The Republicans have been stealing you blind for eight years. Now give the Democrats a chance!”

Do they believe politics should not be discussed in public? Are they bored with the nominees or issues? Are they disenchanted with the political process and feel their vote will be inconsequential?

I love the Republican’s campaign promises. They last as long as a balloon at a porcupine picnic.

Well, non−voter, let me fill you in on a little political history. In 1645, one vote cost Oliver Cromwell control of England. In 1649, one vote caused England’s Charles I to be executed. Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams each was elected by one Electoral College vote.

In 1776, one vote gave America the English language instead of German. In 1876, one vote gave Rutherford B. Hayes the presidency. In 1939, one vote allowed Marcus Morton to be elected governor of Massachusetts.

The candidates did not have to fool all the people all the time. Their political campaigns were enough.

Texas, California, Oregon and Washington each was admitted to statehood by one vote. President Andrew Johnson avoided impeachment in 1868 by one vote. In 1934, Adolph Hitler became leader of the Nazi Party by one vote. One vote saved the Selective Service system — necessary for our country to draft military recruits — before the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941.

The most important thing in this campaign is sincerity — whether the candidates mean it or not.

A few months ago, a Saudi Arabian cleric was asked on TV what he thought of the American voting system. He disapproved of it because it “allows a physician, an astronaut, an intelligent head of a family and other intellectuals a vote that has the same weight as an ignorant fool, an imbecile, a hippy, a bum [and] an unemployed man who has no diploma, culture or brains. What [a terrible system].”

Apparently, fools, idiots and imbeciles like him get invited onto TV shows to rant their anti−democratic bile. We must prove him wrong by voting.

If you fool people to get their money, it is fraud. If you fool them to get their votes, it is politics.

We are lucky we live in a country that grants us the right to vote. Voting is an indispensable privilege and obligation of every American citizen.

What would happen if everybody believed what the two presidential candidates said about one another and nobody won?

As the Association of Retired Teachers put it, “Moan, groan, gripe, bellyache, criticize, condemn, curse, fuss, complain, whimper, grumble, object, protest, whine, suffer or vote!”

I wanted to listen to a candidate at a rally, but I was a little late and had to wait outside during his first three campaign promises.

Vote as if your grandchildren’s lives depend on it, because they do.

Contact Alex Berger at news@timesledger.com.

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