Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Freely Cast Vote For Freedom

My vote is cast. There. My civic duty has been completed. I've tried my best to arrive at the best candidate for whom I should cast my vote and my vote has been legally cast and, hopefully, legally recorded. (The graphite pencils that were provided to fill out ballots that clearly indicated black or blue ink could be problematic.)

I am not the first to do so and I hope that countless generations of free Americans will cast similar votes before there is a last.

I've tried to vote in every general election since 1980 and in most of the primaries. Yes, I am an old fart. I did get turned away from the polls (DISENFRANCHISEMENT!) in Lewisville, Texas one year because my recent arrival from Coppell had not been conducted in an appropriate electoral fashion.

I did not have to travel to any precinct during any of those times under threat of gun, rocket or bicep. I was never hassled at any poll, exposed to unlawful propaganda at the polling place, or told to ignore my rights as a voting citizen.

This is not the case in many place around the world where it is rather routine to see men with guns offering effective dissuasion on the road to the polling place. Nearly half of this planet's habitable land is governed at the whim of a tyrant while nearly half of this planet's humans are governed by the threatened force of a tyrant's hand. (I include the affable Vladamir Putin among the tyrants--so sue me.)

Worldwide press clippings over the last 100 years should indicate to us the fortune we here in America have enjoyed. Most of us did not, and certainly I did not, suffer the Soviet or Maoist starvations, the gulags, or life behind the wall. I did not see the killing fields, witness the Bataan march, smell the choking air over Krakow, or ever fear a machete's chopping. My local sheriff's department does not hide for fear of a drug cartel's reprisals and my children learned in a school that was never threatened by fanatics. (Then they went to Michigan State where the jury remains out.)

While there used to be an insidious poll tax in some southern states, today there is none. In America, if you are a citizen and if you register, you may vote--despite whatever the Democrat Bull Connors wannabes would like.

With all apologies to Charles Dickens, it appears that from this perch of freedom, this truly is the best of times and the worst of times. Despite our victories and our advancements, America has long since reached and passed the pinnacle of liberty--an apex from which collective forces have finally decided that they will not allow individuals to enjoy more freedom and the fruits thereof.

America today, though blessed with benefits that most anyone else on Earth would gladly exchange for their own suffering existence, is facing a challenge from within from those who either suffer the guilt of have, or the sin of want.

It is this sad truth that I carried home from the polls today.

I have but one vote, anchored in my desire for freedom, with which to fight off the human frailties of guilt and envy. Today I cast it with a smile and some light banter at the precinct. (Thankfully no handcuffs presented themselves.)

Today, at least, under sunny skies and the absence of gunfire in the distance, was a great day to be an American. I hope my vote will help ensure many more such days.

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