Some people have used the argument that the Electoral College should be done away with, because “We The People” are not actually voting directly for the presidential candidate, but rather a representative (i.e. an elector) that will vote for the candidate.  While this is basically true on a certain level, the fact remains that the Electoral College is just another part of our representative form of government that allows the people to be a part of how our leaders are selected.  In order to understand and appreciate this, we must look at the surroundings of the time period when this system was instituted.

The Electoral College had its beginnings in the Constitutional Convention of 1787.  The question of how to select a President was being considered as the newly created nation of the United States, born out of revolution and victory over Great Britain, had emerged and was trying to find it’s way in making sure that the government would indeed work; after all, the nation had just recently finished with 8 years of war against arguably one of the greatest world powers at that time and suffered over 4,000 that were killed in action.  This was an issue that the Founding Fathers wanted to make sure that they would get right, or at least have a system that would be as fair as possible.  The new nation had thirteen states that had to be joined together with a system that would satisfy all, but still take into consideration each state’s unique identity.  Several ideas were looked at, including having Congress select the president, and having a popular vote by the people.  The problem was, as in the case of Congress making the selection, that this would give the legislature too much power and upset the checks and balances that were put into place.  With the idea of a popular vote, this was rejected, in that the largest and most populous states would more than likely always decide the outcome of the election (remember, there were still only 13 states at this point in the late 1780’s).  The system that was finally adopted was one that was representative in nature, in that each state would have two permanent votes (representing the two US Senators from each state) and additional votes that were equal to the number of US Representatives in Congress.  Over the years, this system has been revised to its present-day operation.  Some people, right or wrong, have expressed that they should not be involved with any election because of the Electoral College, and therefore that their votes do not count.

To those who express a desire not to vote in the coming election, or any election, I have this to say.  As an American citizen, you have the right to vote or refrain from doing so.

This right was originally set forth by the Founding Fathers and it comes to most of us freely by just being born in America. However, one must not confuse free with cheap.

This right to vote (or not to) was paid by the sacrifices of thousands of veterans since 1775 until today. There seems to be much controversy concerning this election cycle. If you choose not to vote, then fine; your rights have been exercised according to your conscience. As mentioned before, this was paid for by veterans. However, it seems a waste not to vote when you have the opportunity to do so. In other countries through time past, people have been governed by individuals who just happened to be born into royalty. This had been the system in Europe and Asia for over a thousand years and in the ancient world longer than that.  This has had consequences (both positive and negative) throughout history.

Now consider this: If you lived in Italy during the 1920’s, your political choices would have been Benito Mussolini. Period. If you lived in Germany during the 30’s, it would have been Adolf Hitler. Period. In Russia during the 40’s it would have been Joseph Stalin. In China during the 50’s it would have been Mao Tse-tung. In more recent history, that list includes Fidel Castro (Cuba), Ho Chi Minh (N. Vietnam), Moammar Khadafi (Libya), Idi Amin (Uganda), Saddam Hussein (Iraq), and Kim Jong-Il (N. Korea) just to name a few. And the list goes on. I think you get the point.

This election will be one the most important in the history of our republic; the very heart and soul of our nation and the American people are at stake.  Depending on who is elected, our country will either stay alive on borrowed time to try to fix the mistakes of the past several years, or it will further sink into the mire of the abyss.  Whether you agree on the principle of the Electoral College or not is a moot point.  Making your voice and vote heard is paramount to the viability of our form of government.

If you choose to sit out this election, so be it and enjoy your freedom to do so (while it lasts). But remember the millions of people today and in years gone by that have not had this right that we so often take for granted.  To ignore it is to make the decision to go down the primrose path to a Orwellian future, which some will argue that we are already there.

Written by: Rudy Smith

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