Voting reminds Airmen of sacrifices, patriotism

Chief Master Sgt. Manny Sarmina
Air Force Surgeon General Office

***image1***On Sept. 18, 1787, the final day of the constitutional convention, Benjamin Franklin emerged from Independence Hall in Philadelphia into a crowd of curious spectators. The people were eagerly waiting for news of what form of government he and his fellow delegates had created for the young nation.
A woman stepped forward and asked Mr. Franklin, “Well, doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
Without hesitation, Mr. Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
His prophetic reply is just as true today as it was more than 200 years ago.
“We the people” have a sacred obligation to safeguard “for ourselves and our posterity” – the blessings of liberty our forefathers fought so hard to achieve. And the most fundamental obligation is that of every eligible citizen to vote.
At stake this fall are the offices of the president and vice president of the United States, one-third of the seats in the U.S. Senate, the entire House of Representatives, 13 state governorships and a host of other state and local offices, initiatives and issues.
Judging by voting statistics, “we the people” take our right to vote for granted. But the idea that the people should choose their leaders was once very radical in a world ruled by monarchies and oligarchies.
Enlightened philosophers like John Locke and Thomas Jefferson, however, argued that self-government is a natural right of every person, and that governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed.
Our fundamental belief in the right of self-government, so eloquently expressed in the Declaration of Independence and achieved by the blood of patriots in the American Revolution and on every battlefield since, is the cornerstone of our political system.
Today, the right to vote is so universally accepted as our most fundamentally basic of rights that we have forgotten the sacrifices it took to win that right.
By voting, you are not only ensuring your voice is heard, you are paying homage to those brave Americans who struggled to win that right for all Americans. Your vote counts.that right for all Americans. Your vote counts.