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Berger’s Burg: Keep American democracy in place by voting this Nov.

On Nov. 2, the most eagerly anticipated election in a generation will take place. The stakes are higher than ever before, so I need not tell you how important it is for your voice to be heard.

Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. — Ronald Reagan

Webster’s dictionary defines “politics” as “the art or science of government” and “politician” as “a person experienced in the art or science of government.” In our democratic form of government, you cannot have one without the other, but I suspect many voting booths will be empty Election Day.

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. — George Bernard Shaw

I have begun engaging friends and family in a discussion about their political choices to pique their interest in the upcoming elections. But based on prior years, a few who say they will vote do not, citing “personal obligations.” Not voting is their prerogative, of course, but voting is an important undertaking of every American citizen. As Louis Brandeis said, “The most important political office is that of private citizen.” And it is up to them to wisely choose political candidates who will represent them.

In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other. — Voltaire

What possibly can be their reasons? Are they bored with the nominees, issues and profusion of commercials? Are they disenchanted with the political process? Do they believe their vote will be inconsequential? They are twice as likely to be struck by lightning as to have their one vote tip the balance in an election. In New York, the odds are 1.9 billion to 1 that one vote would win it. But thousands of formerly disenchanted non-voters can, and have, swung elections.

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. — P.J. O’Rourke

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 were each elected president by one Electoral College vote. In 1876, one vote gave Rutherford B. Hayes the presidency. In 1939, one vote allowed Marcus Morton to be elected governor of Massachusetts.

Texas, California, Oregon and Washington were each 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 before Pearl Harbor in 1941 saved the selective service system — necessary for our country to draft military recruits — and win World War II.

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you. — Pericles

A few months ago, a Saudi cleric was asked 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 diplomas, culture or brains. What a terrible system.”

Apparently fools, idiots and imbeciles like him often get invited on TV to rant their anti-democratic bile. This is disrespectful to our country — so we must prove him wrong by voting.

Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves — and the only way they could do this is by not voting. — Franklin D. Roosevelt

We are fortunate we live in a country that grants us the right to vote. It is a vital obligation of every American citizen. 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!”

Successful ... politicians are insecure and intimidated men. They advance politically only as they placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle or otherwise manage to manipulate the demanding and threatening elements in their constituencies. — Walter Lippman

If you like your current officeholders, vote to keep him or her in. If you do not, vote to throw them out. But always vote, vote, vote!

Contact Alex Berger at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com.

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