“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, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Have you ever taken time to read the Declaration of Independence? Really read it? These men were performing acts of treason; Acts for which they faced certain death. Why? Because they strongly believed in a government “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Less than 100 years later Lincoln stated “…that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Our forefathers, and mothers, gave us one of the most precious gifts ever bestowed: Democracy. During the time of the revolution, a government run by the people, representing the people, was hardly imaginable. This was, after all, a time of kings and czars.
What would they say about the government we have now? I can only hope they aren’t completely condemning us from their places in the sky. We have, today, some of the lowest rates of civic participation in our nation’s history. Less than 42% of the population voted in the 2014 Wisconsin governor’s election. Less than 42%! Those are actually good rates compared to the nation. 36.3% nationally in 2014. How have we come to take our most important freedom for granted?
Lots of things have happened, and continue to happen which causes this. When people are scrambling to make ends meet, pay rent/mortgage, put food on the table, do they really have time to worry about politics? When we continue to make the simple act of voting more complicated and confusing, is it really a wonder that people, who are already pressed for time, don’t make the extra effort? Most importantly when we have 2 parties that continue to fight, bicker and never accomplish anything to benefit the people, is it any wonder people don’t see the value in voting? We must turn this around.
We have to convince people that their voice, and vote, does matter. We have to convince them that things aren’t going to get better until they make it so. Until we can return people to government, we won’t have a government of the people. The thing is we need to give them a reason to believe. It’s not going to happen overnight, but I do believe it will happen. We’ve been here before in our history and we’ll get through it again, just like before. Stronger Together!