Never take an election for granted

Tuesday was the day of privilege in the USA.

Its the day that every adult citizen of the United States has the right to vote for those we prefer to lead our government during the next four years.

Do you take this for granted?

I hope not. This political privilege has evolved, over many years, to its present state.

To our Founding Fathers, the vote was based on property ownership and, of course, for men only. Early on, nonetheless, Abigail Adams often wrote to husband John, requesting that he "do something for the ladies."

John pondered - and on many occasions - followed Abigail's advice. But as for doing "something for the ladies", concerning both education and citizenship he was not a trailblazer.

Moreover, it was only in recent decades, that various voting restrictions were removed in the south.

As for the vote for women, that, too, moved slowly, gaining approval many years after those early suffragettes met in 1848 in Seneca Falls to start their crusade.

Determined women paraded, gave speeches, pleaded with Congressmen and withstood years of ridicule and abuse from the citizenry.

Finally, in 1920, women citizens entered the voting booth on an equal footing with men.

Over the years we have had four presidents who did not win the popular vote. The Electoral College, in which each state has the same number of votes as the members of total Congressmen, elected those presidents.

Included are Benjamin Harrison over Grover Cleveland, Rutherford B. Hayes over Samuel Tilden, John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson and George W. Bush over Al Gore.

Do you remember the first time you voted and were you a winner?

My first vote was in the former Glyndon Fire House. I made my "X" on a paper ballot, careful, as directed, not to touch the lines. The next day we heard that election judges had counted ballots all night.

Over the years voting progressed to a booth where you pulled a handle to close the curtain - one had totally private space. You pulled the handle to open the curtain and to record your vote.

On to present machines in line with the computer age.

Near the end of this campaign period I encountered someone who said - without any embarrassment or apology - that he, his wife and grown children would not vote because "it won't matter who gets elected."

I was dumfounded.

My what-a-privilege-for-every-American-fervent reply speech appeared to make no difference.

Sincerely I hope that there are few of this ilk.

I'm convinced that the overwhelming majority of Americans are grateful for this privilege.

May the winner be a good choice for our nation.

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