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It’s Election Day, and it’s your civic duty to go cast your vote. In a distinctly one-party state, Alabama’s top ticket races are far from interesting and were mostly decided in the party primaries or primary runoffs months ago.  Despite that, each of us should take the time to exercise our right to vote. Additionally, there is a multitude of state constitutional amendments and down-ballot races that will impact all of our lives, depending on the outcome.

President Ronald Reagan astutely observed, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Voting to maintain our freedom is a privilege that citizens shouldn’t take for granted. Americans struggled and died for the right to participate in government and we shouldn’t take their sacrifices or our ability to have an impact lightly. When we vote, we are employing the opportunity to influence our nation, state and local community. Elected officials should be moved by the decision-making of the electorate; voting is one of the principal ways we can collectively remind them that they represent us. 

Democrats are sounding the proverbial alarm as if this election is the last stand for democracy in America. That is especially ironic since they are the ones pushing leftward toward socialism and the fact that America is intentionally not a democracy at all. Our country was founded as a Constitutional Republic on purpose. Mob rule isn’t an American value any more than reducing the melting pot to a steaming heap of intersectionality is. America’s system of separation of powers was simultaneously revolutionary and wise. Given the fallen nature of man, it makes biblical and rational sense to maintain checks and balances on others and ourselves. Our system is a system built upon an understanding of human nature and accountability. Many progressives are raising the warning flag regarding supposed threats to democracy due to their heightened level of political legalism. Secular progressivist humanism has become the idol upon which they bow their knee; their worldview is more of a religion than political opinion, so they deem anything or anyone who dares question their belief system as undemocratic or dangerous.

This nefarious commitment to government as God is negatively influencing our lives and our standing in the world. The role of government on all levels in the lives of Americans is excessive and needs to be dialed back and then limited again. America used to be known as a beacon of freedom. However, the hyper-political humanism of the left has accelerated us to a tipping point and our vote is the principal way to stop the downward trajectory.

Canada’s Fraser Institute recently released the latest Economic Freedom of the World rankings. “The index published in Economic Freedom of the World measures the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries are supportive of economic freedom. The cornerstones of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to enter markets and compete, and security of the person and privately owned property.” The US rating is lower now than any other time in the last 50 years and doesn’t even account for any of the recent Biden overreaches or missteps.  

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“In 2020, the average rating fell to 6.84 from 7.00 in 2019— erasing about a decade’s worth of improvement in economic freedom in the world. The policy responses to the coronavirus pandemic undoubtedly contributed to an erosion of economic freedom for most people in 2020.” 

Freedom is both a political and empirical question. Scholars such as Adam Smith,  Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, and Milton Friedman argued that systems based upon private property, competition, and free markets yield prosperity and human flourishing. Other scholars, among them Karl Marx and J.M. Keynes, argue that economic freedoms lead to sub-optimal outcomes. Basic political and economic theories are at war in our society and our voting patterns set the path forward for our country. We are truly in the middle of a dogfight between individual freedom and governmental control: our votes matter.

Despite the left’s unhinged response to the fall of Roe, the US Supreme Court was finally doing exactly what it was supposed to do all along. Dobbs was the restoration of the rightful role of government in response to the fifty-year-long federal power overreach. That right-sizing certainly isn’t a threat to our way of life and those saying it is are disdainfully attempting to use the lives and pain of women and children as political weapons. We have accommodated the poisonous politics of uninhibited sexual liberation for far too long when we should have methodically opposed it at every single turn. Unfortunately, many Americans accepted the lie that it isn’t their place to have any opinion regarding sexual morality (or the lack thereof); morality was the first thing we allowed relativism to claim under the (not Constitutional) demand of separation of church and state; our children, families, and nation have suffered for it.

This laissez-faire policy has cut us down to the foundational quick of our country. The simultaneous devaluation of human life led us to the crisis points our society finds itself in now.  Ironically, governmental-mandated moral relativism has contributed to the massive shift toward governmental authority. Free speech and diversity of thought are not a threat to democratic principles but are actually key components of it. The First Amendment demands Americans have the ability to be rude, to be critical of and ask questions of government officials and their fellow citizens regardless of the feelings of those on the other side of the microphone or aisle. That includes questions on morality. In fact, the Constitution guarantees that Americans have the power of free speech to make both individual and collective opinions heard. If free speech is the fuel in the engine to effect change in society, voting is the steering wheel.

Many on both the left and right falsely whisper that Americans have no political agency and hold no ability to effect change; that oligarchies rule the day and corporate collusion is necessary to control the ignorant masses. Those lies are as false in DC as they are in Montgomery and they have human and political costs. The false notion that the people don’t hold the reins of power anymore will lead Alabamians and Americans to hopelessness and distrust in our political system and our entire way of life.

Benjamin Franklin famously announced, upon leaving the Constitutional Convention, that we had a Republic if we could keep it; our system is worth fighting for and saving. What the founding fathers gifted us still works. As long as our nation’s laws rule the land rather than those who seek to destroy them, the power will remain with the people. For Americans who are concerned about deep political divisions and the devolution of our founding principles, a strict constructionist posture and continued faithful voting are paramount.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich opined recently, “If you love this country, you have an absolute obligation to vote. You have an obligation to tell your friends to go vote. With Veterans Day also next week, it’s important to remember that Americans risk their lives every day all around the world to give you the privilege of voting. To choose not to vote is an abrogation of your duty to them…I believe we are on the verge of a profound election in which the American people reject the ideas and policies which have been dragging our country into despair and poverty and instead choose a path that will return us to an America that works for all Americans.”

Voting rights were expensive to obtain and remain difficult to maintain. We must honor, be grateful for and appreciate this right, not only with our words but also with the concrete action of faithfully participating in our elections. We must vote. Please go today. I’ll see you there.

Stephanie Holden Smith is an experienced policy analyst, political commentator, and public speaker. Smith has worked and volunteered in Governmental Affairs in Alabama since 1997, including lobbying for a Fortune 500 company and serving as Deputy Director of Finance for the State of Alabama. She is currently the principal of Thatcher Coalition LLC. To contact Stephanie, please go to http://thatchercoalition.com.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information Commentary@1819News.com.

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