There are many traditions and rules around elections that most of us do not understand. Did you know that the Democratic donkey was originally used as an attack on Andrew Jackson, the Democratic candidate in the 1828 election. Did you know that the Republican elephant was taken from a passing reference in an 1874 cartoon in Harper’s Weekly. Did you know that the elections were set in November because this allowed the harvest to be completed, freeing the mostly agrarian society to vote. Did you know that Tuesday was chosen because Monday was not considered reasonable since it would require many people to begin travel on Sunday, conflicting with Sunday worship. Did you know that the first Tuesday, after the first Monday was chosen to avoid November 1 because 1) it was All Saints Day and 2) many business owners did their books on the fist of the month.
These are all interesting and perhaps even fascinating facts. But on a more serious note, American Citizens have been granted an amazing privilege that is not found everywhere in the world. That privilege is the right to have a voice in deciding our leaders. Historically, however, Americans have not met this challenge as they should. According to the Federal Election Commission, voter turnout for the presidential election years between 1960 & 2004 ranged from 49.1% – 63.1%. This means that two-fifth to one-half of the eligible voters failed to accept this responsibility. Voting is not just a right, it is not just a privilege, it is a responsibility.
“Taken as individuals, we are merely citizens like any other. Taken together as part of the body of the people, we are God’s anointed in this land. The people of this country are chosen out like David was chosen, like Solomon was chosen, to shape the destiny, by God’s providence, of this land. And as they stood before God to answer for their responsibility, so we stand before Him to answer for ours.” Alan Keyes, March 2000
Election Day is November 4. Please take the time to exercise your right and accept the responsibility that you have been given.