Battle Hymn: America Needs Your Vote
If ever there were a time to yell “fire”' in the crowded political theater, it is now as the 2008 presidential race draws to a close. If ever there were time to cease being a bystander to American democracy, it is now.
Given the current choice between fear and hope, choose wisely. Choose wisely because the future of this great nation depends on it.
Fellow Americans, we are given the choice between giving power to a modern-day Abe Lincoln or to a Westbrook Pegler in lipstick. Given the choice between a uniter and a divider, you all know what to do. Make your vote count and, more importantly, make certain that your vote is counted.
Despite persistent rumors to the contrary, ours remains a government by, for and of the people.
With people losing their homes, jobs and nest eggs, now is not the time for voter apathy. With tens of thousands of troops maimed and killed in ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, now is not the time for indifference.
As Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel has said, “Indifference is not a beginning; it is an end.'' Indifference, he said, always “benefits the aggressor.'' Ask yourselves, fellow Americans, who has been the aggressor in this presidential race. Ask if your indifference to their schemes, smears and dirty tricks will aid and abet their goals to further divide us.
What's at stake is not only your economic well-being but what makes America America.
Amid the partisan rancor, this is the time to run to — not from— America. Run hard. Run fast. Your country, right or wrong, needs you.
Your country has not been perfect. Your government has made mistakes. Anyone who says otherwise is ignorant or lying. Our Founding Fathers realized our imperfection and knew it might take generations to strengthen the foundation upon which our nation, born of bloody resistance to tyranny, rests.
Our founders bequeathed to us not only a blueprint for democracy, the United States Constitution, but also the seemingly impossible task to ``form a more perfect union.'' This is a task from which we, the people, have never shrunk.
Neither in times of civil strife, economic upheaval or war have we let down America and ``the republic'' for which our flag stands. With each generation, America has gotten better, even if the rhetoric of our politicians has gotten worse.
That awful day seven Septembers ago, no U.S. politicians spoke of ``pro-America'' small towns vs. ``anti-America'' big cities. And each year when wildfires engulf homes in California, no one bring up Hollywood types and “San Francisco elites.''
When Midwestern cities are flattened by twisters and Gulf states submerged by hurricanes, no one wonders who among victims was a Republican or Democrat. The territorialism of Blue States and Red States ceases to exist.
Perhaps in good times it is easier to forget what unites us. But what truly makes us proud to be Americans is our ability to remember in the bad times exactly who we are.
In bad times, we are one nation, indivisible. We come together. We assist our neighbors. We may not have as much as we used to, but we certainly have more than our foremothers did. When we have less is when we seem to give more to soup kitchens and food pantries.
We believe in using our tax dollars to help the aged and less fortunate. That doesn't make us a Christian nation, as some would have it. That doesn't make us card-carrying socialists, as some would warn. That makes us Americans. It's what we do. It's what we have always done.
So, cast out the propagandists and fearmongers among us. Recognize the scoundrels cloaked in the paraphernalia of false patriotism. Realize that the fellow who chants “U-S-A!”' the loudest at the political rally is no greater patriot than the one who silently and solemnly casts his vote and then refuses to publicly declare for whom. Realize that a coward is not always the one who hides his identity under a sheet but is also the man who hides behind a pencil skirt worn by a woman of dubious motives.
As Americans, we are used to fighting for what is right. We, too, have the scars to prove it. And, we're not yet done fighting.
Rhonda Chriss Lokeman (RCLCreators@kc.rr.com) is a contributing editor to The Kansas City Star. To find out more about Rhonda Chriss Lokeman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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