By Mike Morrell, senator, R-Rancho Cucamonga
One of our nation’s foundational principles is that we, the people, are governed by consent. Governments are formed and leaders serve only at the desire of those who elect them.
The right to vote is a sacred trust and responsibility. Each of us has a civic duty to participate in charting our country’s course ahead.
Founding Father Samuel Adams said this about voting: “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual…but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”
For many people, it is not always easy to get energized about taking part in a political process that can often be contentious. It is particularly the case during this presidential election season, which has been an unusual and unconventional one in several respects.
At times, candidates’ rhetoric has been passionate. Some would even go as far as to call it inflammatory. Talk to voters of every background or political persuasion and the differences and divisions are laid bare more than ever.
Rather than face the prospect of having to support a candidate they do not like, some are publicly opting to forfeit their vote entirely. While they believe such a protest may be their only option, refusing to vote altogether fails to consider that other races still matter.
Government manages our lives at every turn, especially here in California, where the bureaucratic state continues to grow and encroach on our freedoms. Just recently, Democrats in the Senate approved legislation to impose even greater restrictions on Second Amendment Rights and the religious freedoms of private, faith-based colleges and universities.
Legislative leaders also routinely play games with bills, frequently gutting measures and amending them with little or no chance for public review, which is why it is so important that voters this November will likely have the opportunity to require that bills be available online at least 72 hours in advance of a vote of the legislature.
Yet we cannot pursue changes and reforms if we are not making our voices heard at the polls. There are a lot of good people running to represent us at all levels of government including our city councils, county boards of supervisors, school boards, and others. We need to do what we can to get them elected, regardless of who is at the top of the ticket.
Fundamentally, as citizens of history’s most significant experiment in democracy, we should participate in every election in deference to our republic’s heritage. Members of the military from every generation have given their lives both here and abroad to preserve our way of life and protect our ability to determine our way forward as a nation. We dishonor their service and sacrifice, as well as the resolve of their loved ones, if we do not fully embrace the privileges this country affords us.
Every four years, presidential elections renew interest in our political process. However, no matter the year, the race for the White House is still just one of several questions on the ballot. We should be engaged at every level and commit ourselves to casting our votes, exercising the same right that people in hostile countries all over the world have risked their lives to do.
In reflecting on the exceptional nature of our country, Founding Father John Jay said this, “The Americans are the first people whom Heaven has favored with an opportunity of deliberating upon and choosing the forms of government under which they should live.”
Even if things get discouraging, we cannot lose sight that it is a gift to live in this country and one that should never be taken for granted. We do that first by ensuring that we work to elect principled leadership at all levels of government, entrusting them with the solemn task of upholding liberty that makes America a beacon of freedom in the world.
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