A hallmark of Democracy is our ability to vote.  This can take the form of proclaiming our desire to support a specific referendum (tax, amendment, etc.) or in a representative democracy to elect a person to represent the voters rights in democratic situations.  This would include all our elected officials up through the highest elected official, The President of theUnited States.

 

Greeceis credited as the fatherland of Democracy which began in 508 BC .  While this is the official beginning of the method of government that we embrace today, it is undoubtedly not the beginning of voting.  Hundreds of years prior to the Greek beginnings of democracy, voting was being used as a method to determine the direction a group should adopt.  Whether it was to decide if a hunting party huddled around a French camp fire should hunt bison the next day or a warring tribe deciding who would be their leader on the plains ofAmerica; voting has been with us for thousands of years.

 

As the world progressed and matured with its’ civilizations, so did its’ method of voting. RomefollowedGreeceand men would drop stone balls in different containers to vote for or against a resolution or candidate.  The world continued to advance and voting matured to become even more all inclusive of the population that the laws represented.  It wasn’t until the 1920s that women were allowed to vote in theUnited Statesand later laws that restricted poor and ethnic races from voting were struck down.

 

Twice in our history theUnited Stateswent to war to preserve democracy and thus our right to vote.  TheUnited Stateslost over 116,000 servicemen in World War I and 416,000 servicemen in World War II.  These young men and women marched to a call to preserve our very fiber of a nation that lived under the guise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  They gave their lives to insure that this concept would continue to exist.

 

The first country in the Middle East to throw off the yoke of  a monarchy wasTunisia.  Recently they held their first ever free elections and their turn out was a phenomenal eighty percent.  Compare this to our recent state election where we had a good turn-out at forty percent.

 

This week the polls will once again open inLouisianaand we have an opportunity to cast our votes and select who will represent us in the state capital.  Next Saturday we can walk into a voting booth and close the curtain behind us and cast our vote.  When that curtain closes behind us, we are not encumbered to vote for any resolution or candidate except for the ideals that the individual voter feels are important to the people represented by the candidate.  Then when the elections are over it is also important to rally around the man that the majority of voters has selected.

 

This Saturday can be viewed as a time to reinforce our commitment to our country and democracy.  Taking an hour out of our lives to vote in our local elections is the strongest acknowledgement that we are not taking the values of our country for granted.  When you close that voting curtain the spirits of over half a million free souls will be with you.

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