Mak­ing the voices heard

Americans have a civic duty to vote in­tel­li­gently

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Ben S. Car­son

Many re­cent sur­veys in­di­cate that the vast majority of Americans feel that our coun­try is mov­ing in the wrong di­rec­tion. This was a coun­try that was in­ten­tion­ally de­signed to be dif­fer­ent from oth­ers where a monarch or strong cen­tral gov­ern­ment con­trolled almost ev­ery as­pect of the lives of its cit­i­zens. In most other na­tions, the lives of the pop­u­lace con­form to the will of the gov­ern­ment.

In Amer­ica, the gov­ern­ment was sup­posed to con­form to the will of the peo­ple. Also in most other coun­tries, it was de­clared that the rights of the peo­ple were con­ferred by the gov­ern­ment, whereas our found­ing doc­u­ments in­di­cate a belief that our rights de­rive from our Cre­ator, aka God.

It is crit­i­cal that the peo­ple of our coun­try un­der­stand that we the peo­ple are at the pin­na­cle of power in a na­tion cre­ated of, by and for the peo­ple. In or­der to ex­er­cise that power in a re­spon­si­ble man­ner, the peo­ple must be in­formed vot­ers. To cast votes for peo­ple or is­sues about which one knows lit­tle or noth­ing is akin to tak­ing un­la­beled medicine from an un­known source sim­ply be­cause some­one told you to do so. It is also un­for­tu­nate that many schools no longer of­fer civics cour­ses and that stu­dents are not taught the fun­da­men­tals of how our gov­ern­ment works.

This partly ex­plains the in­cred­i­bly un­in­formed an­swers to ba­sic ques­tions on some of the tele­vised “man on the street” in­ter­views. The Founders of our na­tion were huge ad­vo­cates of ed­u­ca­tion and felt that our free­doms and sys­tem of gov­ern­ment would be jeop­ar­dized by an un­in­formed pop­u­lace that could be eas­ily ma­nip­u­lated by dis­hon­est politi­cians or a bi­ased press.

I hate to com­plain with­out of­fer­ing so­lu­tions. Thus, my wife and I have just re­leased a new e-book (soon to be a pa­per­back) ti­tled “One Vote: Make Your Voice Heard.” Thou­sands of free copies are be­ing dis­trib­uted, and the pur­chase price is less than that of a sim­ple sand­wich. It is com­pletely non­par­ti­san and aims to pro­vide a quick and easy method for peo­ple who, for what­ever rea­son, have missed out on im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion with re­spect to be­com­ing an in­formed voter, and to ac­quire it quickly in an eas­ily un­der­stand­able man­ner.

There are elec­tronic links to web­sites that not only iden­tify your rep­re­sen­ta­tives, but tell you how they voted, as op­posed to how they said they voted, on a va­ri­ety of is­sues. It pro­vides ac­cess to links that help you clearly iden­tify your own be­liefs and com­pare them with those of po­lit­i­cal fig­ures and par­ties. This kind of in­for­ma­tion will make it eas­ier for peo­ple to think for them­selves rather than be­ing herded and ma­nip­u­lated by those in var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions who hunger for power rather than lib­erty and fair­ness.

In 2012, 93 mil­lion Americans who could have voted failed to do so. That’s more votes than ei­ther pres­i­den­tial can­di­date re­ceived. We must all re­al­ize that we have no right to com­plain about the di­rec­tion of our na­tion if we are un­will­ing to grasp the im­por­tance of our civic duty to vote in­tel­li­gently.

There are those who are much more in­ter­ested in hav­ing blind fol­low­ers than in­formed vot­ers. They will not embrace this pub­li­ca­tion. I also fully re­al­ized that de­trac­tors will say Ben Car­son is just en­gag­ing in self­pro­mo­tion and try­ing to make more money. Some peo­ple as­cribe to oth­ers what their mo­tives would be and are in­ca­pable of think­ing oth­er­wise. In the mean­time, we the peo­ple must, through our col­lec­tive wis­dom and power, al­ter the course of our beloved na­tion through the wise use of our votes. Ben S. Car­son is au­thor of the new book “One Na­tion: What We Can All Do To Save Amer­ica’s Fu­ture” (Sentinel).

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY LI­NAS GARSYS/THE WASH­ING­TON TIMES

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