SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Election Forum

October 12, 2012

Column: Carpe diem

As usual, it is early morning as I sit sipping my morning coffee and writing my newest blog post. For me, as well as many others, sleep is not always either a luxury or an option. Solution — to nap whenever I may get the opportunity to do so. Somehow I have survived 40-plus years, and as usual, once the early news stations begin their broadcasts, I click to my station of choice.

As Americans, we are a nation of choices; choices so plentiful they not only shape who we are, but shape our lives: how we think, our ideals, our wants, our needs and especially how our government, whether local, state or federal, dictates the majority of beliefs that we have. Yet, who dictates which candidate will win an election and which candidate will lose an election? Any and all registered American citizens over the age of 18 who choose to have a voice. A voice that is certainly influenced by just some of the forms of media, such as: mass mailings, social networking, political shows, the news, debates and multitudes of television ads that can inundate your insomnia-driven mind while you are attempting to focus on your program of choice, a focus that even the ancients were subjected to as citizens in their own way.

Though the ancient Greeks may not have had the technology that we have today, they did believe in the meaning of the word democracy. Their citizens used broken pieces of pottery, which was both plentiful and inexpensive, in order to scratch their candidate’s name to vote. This was to pave the way to what appears to be the first use of paper to cast a ballot in Rome 139 B.C. And in 1789, America’s first election for president took place, and George Washington was later sworn into office, making history. It is a history that has been great and a history that has been tainted. However, voting is a history that has survived through bloodshed, sacrifices, experimentation and constitutional amendments. As Americans, we have earned the right to exercise our freedom — freedom of choice and freedom of voice.

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