Practicing what we preach – through voting
In today’s society, the United States of America is known as one of the most influential and powerful countries – the world’s ultimate super power. We’ve competed for decades to obtain this title: the title every country wishes to hold. With the title of the world’s superpower, our country has the ability, and is even expected in some cases, to use our authority to aid other countries when they need it. The United States has proven to be successful at this in many cases, such as the world wars; but recently many people feel the United States has taken this expectation too far.As a superpower, our country feels it is our responsibility to take our country’s “method to success” and teach it to other “unsuccessful” countries. Spreading democracy around the world has been the main goal of the United States for the last several years, as we have seen in the war in Iraq. Yes, democracy currently has proven itself to be the most successful form of government; and almost anyone can agree that is much better for society than a dictatorship. But there is one thing that the United States government has failed to realize: Who are we to kill thousands of innocent Iraqis and put thousands of our own youth at risk to establish our form of government in a country when we have yet to perfect it ourselves on our own land?The dictionary definition of democracy is “government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.” This meaning that the only way a democracy can truly work is if every citizen in the entire country does their part in making it work, their part being to vote. Voting is the fuel of a successful democracy, without it the country cannot run.The Untied States currently owns the classy luxury vehicle with all the wingdings and doodads you could possibly pack into it, but we are driving it with the tank empty. The United States voter turnout in the 2004 presidential election was at an all-time high, a towering 60.7 percent. Compared to other countries’ voter turnout that is pathetic! On a chart created by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, where they took every country’s voter turnout in each election since 1945 and found the average, the Untied States ranked 139 out of 172. It is hypocritically mind-boggling to think the United States is attempting to get the citizens of a foreign country to vote, while they are failing miserably to get their own citizens to do the exact same thing.Democracy is far from perfect, even in the world’s superpower, but every person has the choice to help make it that much better. Go out and vote at the next election and take time to educate yourself on what is going on in the world. Perfection is impossible to achieve, that’s the bitter reality, but knowing that as close to perfection as possible was reached is just as sweet. It’s up to the citizens of the United States to keep our government out of trouble and stay away from being hypocritical. Show the world we really are the strongest country, not only militarily and economically, but politically as well. Do yourself a favor and make voting a habit you don’t want to give up.Rosie Sullivan is a resident of Carbondale. Editor’s note: Soapbox runs weekly on the Sunday opinion page. This spot is a forum for valley residents to comment on local topics. If you’d like to contribute, contact Naomi Havlen at The Aspen Times at 925-3414, extension 17624 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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