The election of a United States President and other important offices take place Tuesday, November 6. U. S. citizens will once again have the opportunity to vote their choice to hold the highest political office in the land. Voting is both a right and a privilege. History records that many dictators have held forth over the centuries and there are many who are ruling today. Lord Acton, one of the great personalities of the Nineteenth Century, once said Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.
While Americas elected officials on all levels obtain power at their successful election and often use it in the exercise of their duties, they are ultimately accountable to their constituents. Therefore their power is not absolute. The government adopted by America was a democracy. One of Americas most beloved presidents, Dwight David Eisenhower said, Human dignity, economic freedom, individual responsibility, these are the characteristics that distinguish democracy from all other forms devised by man. President Eisenhower was speaking of democracy in general terms.
But, America is a free nation under what is sometimes called a representative democracy (republic). That is a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens that is entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them. As the Declaration of Independence asserts, U. S. citizens have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There are many countries today for which that concept is only a dream. The founding fathers of the United States wisely departed from the monarchial system of the government of England and chose a government with checks and balances to insure as well as possible the integrity and openness of officeholders.
While the way of choosing a U. S. president has varied over the history of this great nation, as it stands now the president is elected by folks called electors (the electoral college) from each state and not by popular vote. There are pros and cons about that method of electing a president and vice-president but it is the law of the land for now.
The governmental checks and balances in America include the executive (President), judicial (Supreme Court) and legislative (Congress including the House of Representatives and the Senate). The government of the United States has stood up well since it was formed 223 years ago. A number of other forms of government have ceased to be and are now in the dust pile of history. As Americans we are fortunate to have a representative form of government. Every vote counts. It is important that we study the issues, study each partys philosophy, and cast an informed vote in this upcoming election. Some have regarded this election as one of the most important since the founding fathers carved out the government of these United States.
As I close this column, I want to again include a quote by President Eisenhower: All our freedoms are a single bundle, all must be secure if any is to be preserved.