Sunday, February 17, 2008

Voting, a Right or a Privilege?

I could just see the veins on grandpa’s neck bursting out after walking away from a friend while we were in town. His friend had said that he had no intentions of voting this fall in the general elections. As we was walking away grandpa looked down at me and said,

"Boy, there goes a man who thinks that voting is a right and that it can never be taken away from him. It is not. It is a privilege allowed the people and they should make it their duty to vote when given the opportunity. People such as he has not learned anything from history especially of the history of this country we love so much.

There were those in the beginning that wished to make our government a monarchial form of government. If they had been able to convince others that we should have a king what happens to our capacity to vote for our leaders? And even though we ended up as a Constitutional government that Constitution still barred some from the very freedoms and rights that others had. And the authority to vote was one of the things barred. Now, if we as citizens can have the opportunity to participate in the governmental process by Constitution it can also be taken away from us just as it barred some from voting at one time. So, yes, it is a privilege not to be taken lightly.

It should also be seen as a privilege not to be taken for granted for the reason that we are fortunate to be a citizen of a country that permits it. There are far too many countries in this world that do not allow the people this privilege. And far too many governments that would like to take it away from the people. Argentina is but the latest of these countries.

And if we think of Iraq, a good many persons have died not so they may have the privilege of voting for their leaders but so that those they left behind may have that privilege. And many of an American trooper has died so that an Iraqi may come out of the voting booth and get that blue thumb to show they have voted. Do you believe that the Iraqi people think of voting as a right or do you think they consider that they have been given a great privilege?

History will tell us that many a man has died willingly so that we may have this opportunity. To take voting for granted is to take the lives of every one of those soldiers for granted also. To know that voting is a privilege is to see that we are privileged to have such men as these that would die so we may vote. By voting we honor every man who died for this country. By not voting we disgrace their lives. How else can it be seen except as a privilege?

It doesn’t take much to lose that privilege. It can be taken from the people very easily. And that man I was speaking to is a very good example of one way the people can lose the privilege. For he is willing to allow others to determine whom our leaders are to be without participating in that selection as allowed him. Apathy of the voters will guarantee that one day that the little power the voter has will be lost to him. For why should he be allowed to participate when he shows no concern?

Your grandmother and I know it is a privilege and we want everyone to know that we are very concerned as to whom our leaders will be. So, when we walk into that booth we are proud to call it our duty as a citizen but more important we are grateful for the privilege we were given. And because we consider it a privilege we do not take that vote lightly either. We are very careful to mark that vote as it should be so that it will be among those ballots that are counted and that it be counted as we want it to be counted."

I smiled but within me was the yearning to be grown up so that I could participate in voting. I closed my eyes and I could see the three of us walking into our separate booths and voting as a family.


dcat said...

I find it a right!

I will vote accordingly and hope the VP is the one I chose in the first place ;)

The Griper said...

he nods and says as so many do dcat and that, in my opinion, is why there is so much apathy when it comes time to vote. if people looked upon as being a privilege they'd value it more.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I smiled but within me was the yearning to be grown up so that I could participate in voting. I closed my eyes and I could see the three of us walking into our separate booths and voting as a family.

You certainly have a way with storytelling. It's perfect, as all 3 members of the family have the privilege of voting for whomever they so desire. And even if they should all choose different candidates, as we all do, at the end of the day, we are all still one big family in these United States.

Great story!

The Griper said...

thank you wordsmith. just a little different way of presenting ideas for people to read. besides i enjoy writing this way too. and i'd like to think of us here as one big family too.

Kelly said...

if voting was an inherent, God-given right, it would certainly make things a lot easier, and have made a lot of wars unnecessary.

The Griper said...

that it would kelly, that it would and whole lot more people would have been able to also.


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