(The following is a guest post from Joe Jaworski.)
This week, we mark 232 years since our nation declared its independence and launched the greatest experiment in democracy the world has ever known.
That experiment continues to illuminate. The Founders were revolutionaries - and we should always think of them so - who designed our government to be an institution answerable to the American people. Our government works because regular men and women stand for election among their peers who, by their vote, grant the ultimate consent to be governed. No matter the great change that has taken place since 1776, our government was designed to survive "politics" because American citizens are able to control their own course.
The mood is revolutionary again because - for the first time in over fifty years - whoever is elected President will be "new" to the White House. Not since Eisenhower's 1952 election over Stevenson have we witnessed a campaign without the President or his Vice President seeking the office. And since no incumbent is defending the past four years, the 2008 election cycle is about demanding an honest assessment of our condition and finding a new way forward. We'll find that way forward by voting our conscience.
I take my kids to vote with me because the citizen's act of voting is the trademark American experience. I'm asking you today to take stock of your vital role as a Texan and an American, and reflect on your commitment to making our democracy work. We'll have an opportunity to vote in November 2008 in a life changing election for several offices, and each of us has a duty to cast an informed vote. We'll be voting for office holders who decide matters vital to our family's well being. While the politicians and special interests hope for minimal scrutiny from the public, and they expect most people to be "tuned out" until just before the November 4, cycle, it's July 4 and we have four months until election-day. We have the opportunity to learn who the candidates are, study their issues and ask questions. We can afford to be casually indifferent about a few things in life, but casting an educated vote is a vital civic challenge we ought to accept given what's at stake: the robustness of our economy, the quality of our foreign relations, and - clearly the most important issue - our domestic investment in our next generation's health, education and welfare. Today's vote determines our future. We love our children and grandchildren; let's remember that when we vote.
Amid the many family picnics, fireworks displays, and community parades, let's take a moment to reflect on the enormity of our American experience and consider the heroes and generations whose shoulders we stand upon. Our commitment this Independence Day is to participate and defend the democratic ideal committed to us by the Founders and the Americans who followed.
Joe Jaworski served as Galveston Mayor Pro-tem and is currently running for the Texas Senate in District 11.