This is a phrase I am hearing a lot of lately. Politicians are using it. Journalists are using it. Protestors are using it. I read a series of articles where people are asked what it means to them and I started thinking what does it mean to me?
When I hear people in the media say this phrase it seems to be almost a threat. A threat that if I do not vote how they want me to vote, my life will be in jeopardy. How could that be here in the land of the free where we were founded on democracy and free speech for all regardless of race, creed, sex, or political affiliation?
How I vote can and does affect my way of life but my life is at stake? As an American citizen my life does not depend on how I vote or if I vote. As stated in the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
This documents clearly discusses the suppression of tyranny over the people in the original 13 colonies. After reading the Declaration of Independence and again pondering the statement “Vote like your life depends on it”, it begins to be a statement of tyranny in and of itself. For my life is mine given to me by my creator to live with free will yet another unalienable right given by my creator.
As an American, many have gone before me to fight the battle and wage the war for our country’s freedom. Freedom from tyranny in any form particularly from our government. This includes tyranny from protestors as well as organized movement tactics to silence my voice, strip away my protections, and steal my property for their gain. As Americans, we believe in democracy where the majority rule through a government by the people as clearly outlined in our constitution. As Americans, we do not believe in mob rule and intimidation as this is a form of tyranny which we have rejected throughout our history.
For those living in the United States who reject democracy with the intention to instill socialism and communism here, they are free to move to another land in pursuit of their happiness. The United States of American was founded as a democracy where each is given equal opportunity to pursue their happiness through the constitution of the United States. Note the constitution provides equal opportunity it does not provide equal property, income, education, or other personal desires – it provides you a free and open highway for you to make the most of yourself. You have the freedom to choose to be what it is you want to become in America; however, you do have to do the work yourself to get there.
So, I am changing the statement to be … vote for your way of life depends on it. As an American citizen I am granted the privilege to vote in a free and fair election to select a representative of my choosing to speak for me at the various government levels regarding laws, taxation, defense, and regulations to name a few. I am not forced to vote it is my free choice. I feel it is my duty as a citizen to educate myself on the candidates and to vote. If I do not take the time to participate in this important aspect of our democracy, then I cannot affect change and I most certainly cannot complain about the outcome.
I agree as an American citizen that I will accept the election results as they reflect the majority of the people as defined by our constitution. I may not agree with the result, but my life is not in jeopardy or at least it should not be. Violence in any form is not accepted in our civil society. Any protests against election results should honor and respect our fellow citizens. While we are each given the freedom of speech, we are not given the freedom of attack on another. We live in a free democracy. Attempts to force a change in this governance is tyranny which the country has rejected since 1776. We are a resilient country as 244 years have shown. We will survive until the next free election as we have been blessed to live in a free democracy. May God continue to bless the USA!