Tonawanda News

Columns

October 23, 2012

CONFER: The importance of your vote

The Founding Fathers conceived the United States of America out of their desire to escape Great Britain’s heavy-handed governance. They justifiably felt that the Crown was too intrusive and oppressive. The colonists were – just as they were back in their homeland — heavily taxed, denied the pursuit of freedom and silenced when it came to legislative affairs. They and other Brits had become beholden to their government.

Not wanting to live under such tyranny, and intent on guaranteeing that no one else suffered the same, they founded this great nation under the basic yet utterly profound premise that the people control the government, rather than the other way around. This tenet was codified in the Declaration of Independence through this timeless phrase: “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their Powers from the Consent of the Governed.”

As a direct result of their newfound self-rule, the United States and their citizens prospered. It was the first time in history that a people collectively and officially recognized freedom as a natural right, granted to all by a higher power, something beyond government and beyond Man.

Despite being natural and essential to one’s existence, true liberty was in stark contrast to not only British rule but also that of most organized societies since the dawn of time, from nomadic tribes to the world’s greatest empires. Americans were unique because they could pursue happiness and liberty virtually unabated.

Essentially, the United States were, by design, Heaven on Earth.

This position still holds mostly true to this day; centuries later: Despite her flaws (the result of our people straying from the formative tenets of self-rule, responsibility and liberty), our country is still the best exemplification of a free society.

Realize, though, that this is not a guaranteed comfort; there have been and always are forces at work to suffocate natural rights and eliminate “the Consent of the Governed” from the government equation. We as Americans can only maintain this great nation and eliminate those threats through participation in legislative affairs. This does not mean that one needs to run for office. All it means and requires is that the citizens pay attention to how their lives are impacted by government and then - based upon acceptance or displeasure – make their voices heard in the electoral process.

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