Why I Will Vote On November 6.

by George Kennedy on August 15, 2012

Why I Will Vote On November 6th - A Voter's Guide To Federal Elections

 I will vote on November 6, 2012 because the democracy I was proud to represent throughout a lengthy career is in peril.   The most effective way to sustain and nourish American democracy is to register, obtain the proper identification, and vote!  It really is that simple.  If you’re among the undecideds, that is a luxury you cannot afford; not in 2012.  Vote your preferences, but vote!

I will vote on November 6 to join millions of Americans who believe this election is our last chance to roll back or mitigate the impact of an organized and aggressive conservative effort to transform this country into a corporate-controlled, one-party state.

In most presidential elections, a general tendency among many eligible voters is to view their presidential choice as “the lesser of two evils.”  I, too, have felt that same sentiment on many an occasion.  This November, our choice is between a Democratic candidate who for three years lacked the conviction to defend his vision for America, and a Republican candidate without a core set of principles or a vision he is prepared to articulate.

The Democratic vice presidential candidate is seasoned, a man capable of articulating a vision for the future and laying out a plan for getting there.  Moreover and more importantly, he is prepared to lead should it become necessary.  The Republican vice presidential candidate, an admitted disciple of novelist Ayn Rand, is young, bright, and an able communicator, one whose ideas and policy prescriptions are extreme and difficult to defend, especially during an election year.  They represent more an expression of personal faith than policy ideas grounded in reality.

Paul Ryan’s candidacy to become the next vice president of the United States offers context to make an informed decision.

Ryan’s suggestion to privatize Social Security, for example, is not new; earlier under President George W. Bush, the same proposal was  rejected by majorities of Americans.  Moreover, the GOP vice presidential candidate’s plan to change the popular Medicare health plan into a voucher program for future retirees (those currently under 55) is also deeply unpopular with the general public, and especially undecided voters. The times demand more practical presidential policy initiatives less infused with ideology; policies that restore hope, that reduce structural inequality while shrinking Big Government, strengthen the middle class, and illuminate the necessity for more democracy – not less.

I will vote this November because I am persuaded that unless we address head-on the wealth gap in this country, this metastasizing cancer will most assuredly sap our willingness to renew trust in our national leadership.  The trust quotient is already dangerously low.

The sagacity of Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, reminds us that the yawning wealth gap in the U.S. compromises economic efficiency, inhibits much-needed growth, and contributes to our national debt.

I will vote in November to lend my voice and support to those elected officials who understand that the middle class built this country.  We tried top-down, “trickle-down” growth strategies that only weakened median wealth and they don’t work.  Shared prosperity built our democracy and the world’s most envied middle class.  That great mass of middle class humanity is under assault today and their survival is linked to the future prosperity of this country.

If you seek motivation to vote this November, try this fact.  The AARP reports that in the last presidential election, out of 206 million eligible voters, 75 million didn’t take time to vote.  A similar voter response in 2012 could prove disastrous.

Therefore, I will vote in November because I fear that between those millions of citizens being denied the right to vote and those once again disappointed at their choices of presidential candidates and choose to remain at home on election day, our future may be the abyss from which many Americans may not emerge.

Finally, I will vote on November 6 because I remember history.  My right to vote has been paid for.  People died for the right to vote even though they were citizens.  Among them were members of my family.  Others  continue to fight and bleed for the right to express their preferences at the ballot box.  And still countless others continue to cross borders, oceans, and steep mountains in pursuit of this most basic expression of citizenship.  Each of these combatants, each traveler seeks what many willingly give up:  the right to choose who makes the decisions that govern their lives, and the right to participate in a process that shapes the present and the future for themselves and their children.

I will vote on November 6 because as imperfect as our presidential candidates are, my preference is still to live in a country with the promise of more democracy rather than an autocracy.

Voting matters!

How can any of us eligible to vote decide not to vote?

Why I Will Vote On November 6th - A Voter's Guide To Federal Elections

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George Kennedy

George Kennedy is a retired senior Foreign Service officer with extensive international experience. He holds a B.A. from the University of Oregon and two graduate degrees from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. Mr. Kennedy was a political advisor to state and federal officials and has authored strategy pieces for Members of Congress and presidential candidates. He serves on the Advisory Board for the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arizona.

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  • Ashley Madero

    Excellent piece George.

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