2004-10-29 / Columnists

Stand Up And Be Counted

By Frank Gulluscio, District Leader 23rd Part A District A.D., South Queens Democratic Club

Those who founded our country were considered by many to be at best visionary, and at worst mad, to place their faith in a government of the people. Time has proved their faith was well placed. But our world has changed and the challenges we face as a nation have changed. If the faith placed in us by the founding fathers is to find continuing justification, we must reaffirm in both word and action the principle of individual responsibility which is the core of democracy.

As a government of the people it is imperative that we support not only the ideas and principles of democracy but that we support the practice of participating in electing those entrusted with carrying out those democratic ideas and principles. All of us need to understand the politics of our government and to realize that the practice of politics is neither a dirty nor an occult art. The decisions, which shape our policies both at home and abroad, are political decisions. In order to participate wisely in such decision we must be both politically aware and adept.

This is not an easy decision. Policy decisions are made every day at every level of government – local, state and nation. Local decisions can and often do have national ramifications. National decisions can and often do have local ramifications. By not participating in the processes of politics many of us figuratively pat ourselves on the back by saying, “Oh, I don’t have anything to do with politics.”

Many of us seem to believe that disengaging ourselves from any association with politics or politicians is constructive. That there are so many of us for whom the word “politician” has unfavorable overtones is unfortunate. In this nation, for any person to turn his back to politics and politicians is to avoid the responsibilities of citizenship.

As a nation we are at a crossroads. In November, we will elect our first post 9-11 President. I hope that you will do everything you can to get your friends and neighbors to vote.

As citizens, as the people in “by…

of...and for the people” we each have an obligation to preserve our form of government. We have a solemn duty to participate. On September 12, 2001, we were a nation of free people, in all our diversity, united as Americans in our sorrow, grief and anger. We were united in our resolve that those who sought to destroy us then would not succeed. Whether or not we agree or disagree with the current policies of our government we most probably all agree that there are still many in this world who continue their quest to destroy us and our nation of free people.

On November 2 of this year, we have the opportunity to stand together again as a united people in all our diversity to elect one of the men put before us by the two major parties to lead us for the next four years. The world is watching. The question of the day is not whether George W. Bush or John Kerry wins. Very simply the question of the day is whether the will of “we the people” is there to walk in to our polling places and say loudly and clearly by the mere act of voting: “I am an American and I freely elect those who lead me.” Those who sat out the last presidential election, be they Republican, Democrat or other, almost caused the downfall of our system and, in the view of many, cheated my party of a win for President. Vote for who you wish, but please exercise your right to do it.

Let us not, as a nation, face the next four years with a leader, either Kerry or Bush, that anyone in the world can say is not the clear choice of the majority of us. In order to do that we each, individually, must show up and vote. It’s politics at its best; it’s participation in our processes. It’s each individual speaking so that a collective voice will be heard. It’s our solemn obligation to our nation and to ourselves. America’s voting system must be the winner in this crucial election.

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