A view from here


Frank Slater

Elections Belong to the People

Abraham Lincoln spoke of our government as being of the people, by the people, and for the people.

National polls show unprecedented unfavorable ratings for the presumptive candidates of both parties and the legislative branch of our federal government. They indicate to me that many in the electorate think the government is not responsive to the will of the people, and that most elected representatives are more concerned about getting re-elected than they are about the good of the country.

I recently read an item quoting someone in The Wall Street Journal: "I think electing Donald Trump is the second worst thing we could do this November, better only than electing Hillary Clinton."

If you choose not to vote in the presidential election because both candidates offend your sensibilities, and if after the election your very worst fears are realized (a not unlikely scenario), don’t complain about the results.

The Declaration of Independence states: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

I think it is my duty as a citizen and registered voter to choose between the two candidates who have a chance of winning. By not voting, I increase the chance that my worst fears will be realized.

The Republicans, the party for limited government and fiscal responsibility, said elect us to Congress and things will change. The people elected enough Republicans to the House of Representatives, where all spending bills originate, to give them a majority. The national debt kept increasing and the regulations on business kept getting more onerous. The Democrats said pass the Affordable Care Act and you can keep your doctor. The Act was passed. Insurance rates went up. Maybe you kept your doctor, if he or she was on the right list.

If we the people want a government for the people, then we had best get involved and make it a government by the people. Choosing our elected officials is our responsibility, but it is only a first step to ensure government is responsive to the will of the people. Some next steps are to stay informed about what the government is doing, to share with those we elect what we think they should be doing, and working to find and elect someone better if we think we are being poorly represented.

It was also Lincoln who said: "Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters."

Frank Slater, retired math teacher and Korean War veteran, lives in Vaughn.