I n a recent CNN poll, 75 percent of respondents said U.S. House Republicans don’t deserve re-election. That could bode poorly for either party next year, when all 435 House seats are up for grabs.
That’s because it’s likely only a small group of Americans will decide our country’s future, says historian and researcher Merrilyn Richardson. Traditionally, only 40 percent of eligible voters turn out for mid-term elections on average, compared with 60 percent for presidential elections. In the Senate, 33 seats could change, which could tip the balance of power for the subsequent six years.
“Voting is just one of the many privileges too many citizens of the United States take for granted,’’ says Richardson, a former editor of Air Force Bases newspapers and author of “You ARE God: The Challenge to Achieve Christ Consciousness in the Modern Era,” (www.merrilynrichardson.com). “Many do not believe the rights they have enjoyed their entire lives can be taken away from them, but they are wrong.”
It takes actively involved citizens to protect our fragile democracy, Richardson says. The American origin story and its legacy are not only unique to our globe, they’re nothing short of miracles and we need to advocate for what we enjoy.
She reviews three inspiring founding U.S. principles.
• The American Revolution has outlasted competing ideologies. Since 1776, many other revolutions have come and gone. That includes the Russian Revolution, which has all but disappeared and left a country with an identity crisis. The Chinese Revolution, which has morphed into something unrecognizable from its original ideology, and the Cuban Revolution, which has proven to be an unsustainable economic burden for its people. Rather than attempt to force an entire country to conform to an unrealistic ideology, the U.S. founding fathers proposed a Bill of Rights that continues to shape the history of the world.
• Individuality, free speech, the right to bear arms and religion are all protected. Enlightened, Western nations have to pay taxes to support religious institutions of which many citizens are not participants; in England it’s the Church of England, in Germany it’s the Catholic Church. The United States does not make anyone support any church – we can worship and financially support what we choose. This emphasis on individual rights often provides more momentum to our social movements, such as the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street, because people can choose what they support.
• As our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms protect us, it’s our duty as stewards of the Constitution to protect freedom. When people say nasty things, it’s tempting for some groups to call for the censorship of one’s speech. When someone does something barbaric with a gun, even more people call for severe limitations on one’s right to bear arms. If living in a free society were easy, more countries would be doing it. There are many countries throughout the world that are experimenting with a free society, including some in the Middle East and North Africa. Egypt, for example, is finding out just how difficult freedom is to maintain. While terrorist groups may seek to fell the system of governing we were fortunate enough to inherit, we also need to make sure domestic efforts to chip away our liberties are not successful. MERRILYN RICHARDSON received a degree in journalism from Texas Tech University and was editor of Air Force Bases newspapers. At 89, she has spent decades searching for truth and found that studying spiritual subjects provides a basis for understanding our human condition. Her latest book, “You ARE God: The Challenge to Achieve Christ Consciousness in the Modern Era,” is a concise glimpse of American history and other events that have affected individuals worldwide. She is a founding member of the Center for Spiritual Living in Midland, Texas. Her two previous books were “Initiation of the Master” and “The Master’s Quest, an End to Terrorism.”