Voting – a right and an obligation in a democracy

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This past Memorial Day, I saw all the commercials, all the great deals on cars and mattresses. I also saw the banners at schools and other public buildings, reminding us that freedom is not free, and thanking our veterans for securing our freedom. That’s why voting is both a right and a moral obligation in a democracy.

I liken freedom to democracy. Isn’t the idea of being free what the Constitution is all about? It grants us those freedoms, like the right to own and carry weapons, to write whatever we want, to worship the faith of our choice, and to vote – to give each individual the opportunity to choose who will govern. And of course, there’s the right to assembly and to free speech, which gives the Occupy movement and the Tea Party folks the right to do what they do. Except the Tea Party guys never get pepper sprayed or arrested.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s bald head was shining bright the other day when he decided to purge voter lists. This will disenfranchise voters, and take away their freedom. This comes on top of last year’s election law overhaul, which was passed by the Republican-led Legislature, and reduced the amount of time allowed for early voting and tightened rules for voter registration groups. Just what are Republicans so afraid of?

What Gov. Scott was doing is illegal, and the Justice Department sent him a letter telling him to stop purging the list. Three cheers for democracy!

Voting for democracy

You have the right and the freedom to vote? Then, vote!

Related: Florida’s voter purge: Stop this assault on democracy – and Latinos

The right to vote is a fundamental freedom in a democracy. In Latin America and other countries, people die when they try and exercise their right to vote. Going to the polling station is hazardous to their health. But in the good old U.S of A, we can vote in a safe environment. Well, that’s if we vote in the first place, as voter apathy is so prevalent in our past and current political climate.

You don’t vote because you don’t believe in the system? Consider the 2000 presidential election. Remember the recount? Well, let’s say 600 voters who chose not to vote had instead voted for Al Gore, it would be a safe bet we would have not gone to war in Iraq, and perhaps even Afghanistan. It’s also possible there would have been more oversight of Wall Street and the mortgage lending industry, which caused the economic crash that Bush gave us. And that’s not to mention the environmental regulations and possible enforcements that would be in place courtesy of Señor Gore.

If you think your vote doesn’t count, think of Governor ‘bulb head’ Scott who waltzed into office with less than a 1.5 percent margin over Alex Sink in 2010. That’s 68,000 votes, not a lot when it’s all said and done. Scott’s governorship cost him $75 million dollars. Who says you can’t buy your office?

Scott is paying to fight Obama’s healthcare law because Scott made his millions off of a private healthcare company, which back in the 1990s pleaded guilty to one of the biggest frauds against Medicare ever. Now, Scott owns Solantic, a chain of 27-walk-in clinics that cater to the uninsured, the very people Obama’s health care program would help. And you know there’s more. Scott refused federal funding for high speed rail at a time when we could have used the jobs. Next time you’re stuck in that Tampa-Orlando traffic, think about your vote.

The thing is, democracy and the right to vote is what all this business of freedom is about. I think an excellent way to thank a veteran for his or her service, and to appreciate freedom, is to make sure you read up on the issues, know the candidates, and vote.

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