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Why your vote matters

By Pete Riehm
Mobile Free Press
At this point, we are being bombarded with solicitations for our individual votes from all quarters. It may be exhortations from friends and family, political mailings, robo-calls, print media, radio, TV, and internet –- you cannot escape it. Every facet of media is saturating society with arguments from all sides and even some silly commercials featuring goofy celebrities trying to persuade us to the polls.

If you are not already, you are probably close to finding this all quite tiresome. But then, you remember it is your patriotic duty to vote, so you endure. How many of us understand why it’s our duty or patriotic?

The 15th Amendment to our Constitution guarantees every American citizen the right to vote. This constitutional right is absolutely essential to protecting our God-given rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence: the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit happiness.”

This concept requires deeper examination and appreciation. You are born free not because you are born under the jurisdiction of the United States government, but because God created all men to be free. It just so happens the United States government has been the best protector of those innate freedoms in all history.

The Constitution charges our elected officials with the top priority of preserving our rights and then governing according to the will of the people. This is where each of our individual votes becomes paramount. Your vote is much more than simply indicating your preference; your vote gives your consent to be governed by those elected.

All American citizens are part of the governing process. We do not select or crown rulers; we give temporary permission to private citizens to uphold the public trust and do no more than govern us. Thankfully the Constitution limits governmental powers most notably in the 10th Amendment.

Sadly, we have seen a steady erosion of the Constitutional limits placed on government. We have seen government powers grow exponentially beyond anything the Founders could have imagined. In fact, liberal ideology believes its goals should not be impeded by the Constitution. This was most notably emphasized by Senator Obama in a 2001 interview when he lamented the Warren Court was not radical enough: “It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution.”

Never before have the American people had such clearly different choices for President. There are myriad policy proposals and even more promises from both candidates.  Trying to tally merits and sift the chaff becomes tedious and often confusing particularly as slick packaging can make most anything sound appealing. Therefore, it is helpful to focus on the candidates’ guiding principles.

Senator Obama by word and deed certainly seeks a greatly expanded government with new programs and taxes to include redistributing wealth. Senator McCain has many proposals too, but overall he advocates lower taxes for all Americans, reduced spending, and smaller government.

The choice is clear. Senator Obama will grow government beyond its limits to empower bureaucrats to try and solve all your problems. Or, Senator McCain seeks to reduce your tax burdens and get government out of your way, so you can solve your own problems.

The bottom line is money. The more of our money our government confiscates; the larger and more powerful it becomes. The founding fathers warned against concentrated power and tried to build safeguards into the Constitution to prevent our elected officials from garnering ruling powers. Do we really trust a growing gargantuan government to always be benevolent much less fair?

Here again, your vote is an essential part of the American governing process. Vote for Senator Obama to grow the government giant or vote for Senator McCain to reign in the bureaucratic beast. What will you consent to?

(Riehm is a retired U.S. Navy commander and chairman of Mobile GOP.)
Opinion & Editorial
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