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Rhonda Chriss Lokeman
Rhonda Chriss Lokeman
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Battle Hymn: America Needs Your Vote

Comment

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.

Not ever.

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.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.



Comments

3 Comments | Post Comment
Ma'am; with all due respect, the democracy we need cannot be reached with the democracy we have... The people need to rule, and they cannot rule with a course correction every two to four years.... We need a more perfect union... We need a union... How will that union ever be possible so long as neatly divided districts of huge numbers elect representatives??? If it is taken for granted that there will be losers and there will be winners we will never seek a situation where all of us are winners...So; It is likely that in this election, more than forty five percent of the voters will not have the president of their choice... How are they cut in??? Will they be cut in??? Should they be cut in??? Without the people being able to vote on every issue, to consent to the laws by which they are governed, they will not have democracy, and the government will not act as the people decide... If the people have no choice they will never be forced to learn about the issues that affect them, and today, we ard denied education because we are without political power, and are denied political power because we are uneducated...-Can government choose on our behalf better than we can ourselves choose??? You know better... No one would vote for the future we face, but it is the result of a past over which we had no control... Could it be better???. You might not consider it a victory if every defeated candidate for the house of representative were sent to Washignton too... It would be an incredible advance for democracy to have both sides in the same room representing those who voted directly for them....If the House went back to the original number specified in the constitution of no more than one representative for every thirty thousand, the quality of our democracy would improve by miles... This would be constitutional... The limits on the number of representatives was not a constitutional change, and it would not take a change of the constitution to repair... Let me suggest that you will not have a more perfect union with the present form of government unless and until you can send great numbers of representatives to thrash out our differences... Our electoral process divides people... Limited numbers of reps based upon divided districts only means the division is made more profound at every step of the process... You cannot unite the nation by dividing the people...Only by sending our divisions to Washington, and demanding that they act as fair judges, and give us justice, will we have a hope of union... When our representative is elected by division he has no incentive to seek unity, and he can go and unite with party in Washington... Make them find unity at home... Make them resolve differences away...No person can serve two masters...A good start toward democracy in this country is small districts sending great numbers of representatives with overwhelming consensus in their districts, demanding the will of the voters... No one votes democratic to see the republicans represented... If we do not have all people represented in government we cannot have democracy, and until we have democracy we will not have union, perfect or otherwise...Thanks...Sweeney
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:33 AM
My first impression of your article was that it is anything but uniting. How are these quotes uniting:
"...current choice between fear and hope..."
"...modern-day Abe Lincoln or to a Westbrook Pegler in libstick."
"...choice between a uniter and a divider."
"That doesn't make us a Christian nation, as some would have it."
"That doesn't make us card carrying socialists."
"...a coward....is also the man who hides behind a pencil skirt..."
I suggest you take to heart your own quote of, "cast out the propagandists and fearmongers among us", because that is what your article is about.
Comment: #2
Posted by: shawn barr
Mon Oct 27, 2008 8:18 AM
Re: shawn barr; ya... If you don't want to hear it you shouldn't say it... And that goes for me too because the last thing I want to hear is the truth... It is bad enough knowing it... -And damned unsocialist to share it... Thanks...Sweeney
Comment: #3
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Mon Oct 27, 2008 12:31 PM
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