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A nonpartisan campaign

The people of our country will never come to an agreement over the best way for government to do its job. Few people even care to examine the real purpose for having a government and only think about themselves. They vote — or don't vote — because they don't care about anyone else. "Why should it bother me if rich people pay more or pay less in taxes? That's none of my business." "What influence will it have if we make renewable energy a priority? We will all be long gone before the ice caps melt and the planet becomes an uninhabitable ball of poisonous gas."

But the decisions of a few can affect the many, and that's how dictatorships have historically been established — through the reluctance of the people to cooperate and their failure to question authority. More than 2,000 years ago, Plato had warned, "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is you end up being governed by your inferiors."

Our European founders, who risked everything to escape from tyranny and oppression, from whom the Constitution and Bill of Rights were born, believed in one thing: freedom. That freedom has been changed and expanded in the last 221 years, but it still serves to guarantee all citizens the enjoyment of "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

Therein lies the sole purpose for our government's existence: to secure the civil rights of the people through the consent of the governed. It may sound utopian or idealistic, but those who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 were so committed to this belief, so determined to create a better place for humanity, that they stated, "For the support of this Declaration… we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor." Since that time, many people have fought and died in hopes of seeing democracy live on, granting us the freedom to hold in vain their great sacrifice.

Have we, as Americans, given up the fight for democracy? Are most people afraid of their government, or confident that government does its best to ensure a better quality of life for everyone?

Nobody has all of the answers, and no political party — no single president — can calm the hysteria that we bring upon ourselves through lies, intolerance, and indifference. We often divide ourselves based on personal beliefs without factual support or logical reason. And for too long we have accepted the spoken word of television to be infallible.

A truly democratic nation, however, cannot be so diametrically opposed; we must rise above the ignorance of bigotry if we are to ever achieve the greatness that our founding fathers envisioned.

My fellow Americans, I implore you all to demand a greater standard of integrity and competence from government. Lest we forget, "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." Whether our differences be race, religion or sexual orientation, we are all human — citizens of the world — and we must not allow pettiness to overcome the democratic process. Of course, if we are too blind in our arrogance, too stubborn in our devotion to faith, too unwilling to seek the truth and too scared to stand up for what is right, then we will never have the opportunity to realize that we are one nation, indivisible, with justice and liberty for all.

Stand for something, and vote with a purpose.

Michael Brooks


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