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A Defining Moment – A Turning Point for America

Fundamentals of American Democracy

One of the fundamental components of democracy is the right to vote. However, this basic Constitutional right to vote has a complex history in the United States of America spanning the past 250 years. On the day the Declaration of Independence was officially signed, August 2, 1776, Thomas Jefferson penned the fundamental right to vote with these words:

It would be another decade before the U.S. Constitution was adopted at which time the right to vote was delegated to the States to oversee and conduct. As important this event was in the infant U.S. democracy it is a striking contrast to understand the right to vote was restricted to white males over the age of 21 years of age who also owned property. It would be another hundred years before the 15th Amendment was ratified granting Black men the right to vote. Even with this Amendment to the Constitution the Southern States enacted laws which reduced the right to vote based on poll taxes, literacy tests, and “grandfather clauses” which suppressed the rights of Black people to vote until 1965. In addition to Black suppression, Women did not get the right to vote until the adoption of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

For the past 50 years all citizens of the United States of America age 18 years or older have the right to participate in the governance of this country. This is a voting right that is not recognized or understood by people in other countries in the World. One would think, because of this sacred obligation given to U.S. citizens, all eligible voters would eagerly participate in each election. Not true.

Based on the U.S. Census Bureau statistical data collected from 1964 through 2020 for voter participation, the following chart shows that on average only 50% of eligible voters actually participate in general elections in which a candidate is elected U.S. President.

Our Time to Participate

We are at a critical turning point in American history. Throughout the past 250 years there have been critical events which required the people of this great Country to step up and delivery key votes. Those who have come before us have done their part in affecting the quality of life and the freedoms we enjoy today. In 2024 we face another critical turning point for our Country. This is our time. Our time to participate. Our time to get in the game and perform our duties which the Founding Fathers of this Country expected us to perform.

The duty for citizens to vote has lost significance and priority as noted by the statistical data in the chart above. Many have become cynical of the process, have lost confidence in the outcomes, and are not educated in how the American election is conducted. Citizens can not blame the processes and the flaws of the system for the excuse of not voting. The act of voting is the very essence of changing the process and the system and electing officials to represent the people. Our Founding Fathers could not fathom a people that disengaged from the process of shaping this Country by neglecting their duty to vote. These early leaders sacrificed so much of their lives to ensure our future. Let their words inspire you to get involved:

Vote with Knowledge not Sensationalism

I have now had the opportunity to participate in the voting process for over 40 years. In my early years of casting a vote I would simply align with the direction of my parents based on our family discussions. In those days it was more difficult to access information about candidates and their positions on specific policies. As I started my own family some of my viewpoints were expanded from my original perspective based on new life events. Today, access to information has become so voluminous the difficulty is in sorting through the deliberate misinformation and lack of candidate policy statements.

Throughout my 40+ years of voting I have registered as a Republican. However, I have always taken the approach to vote for the best candidates. That means that throughout my voting experience I have cast votes for Republican, Democrat, and Independent candidates. Yes that is correct! In some elections the Democrat or Independent candidates were the best candidate. These were candidates that would reach across party lines to discuss and negotiate. These were candidates that lived the values that they preached. These were candidates that didn’t succumb to the childish name-calling and bullying tactics that are so prevalent today. So yes, this Republican has cast votes for Democrats and Independents, and I will not hesitate to do this again in 2024 if necessary.

We need to remove the emotion from our voting privileges. We need to remove Party allegiance if the candidates don’t represent the Party platform. An issue we experience in our current political environment is the 10% Far-Left radicals and the 10% Far-Right radicals consume all the media time. These candidates are spending their time sensationalizing conspiracy theories, creating division, using elementary school yard bully tactics, spreading lies and half-truths, and attempting to discredit or destroy the Constitution. These radicals from both the far right and far left are destructive. They are self-serving.

This small fraction of representatives, from both major Political Parties, promote so much social media sensationalism for personal gain it would seem they represent the other 80% of the people. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The people in the 80% category need to speak up! We need to get involved. We need to educate others as to the facts and lies and half-truths. It is essential to gain knowledge based on facts and actions, not advertising video clips and social media posts. Understand where each candidate stands on important issues based on their past voting history, their personal lives, and documented policy statements. Avoid the social media sound bites that spew nonsense and only are promoted to distract and deflect from their lack of intelligence and real motives. One resource of information to compare candidates viewpoints is the following:

https://ballotpedia.org/Presidential_candidates_on_the_issues,_2024

Know Your Voting Dates

It is important to know the key dates for your voting opportunities. The Primary Election dates differ for each State as well as timelines for registering to vote. Now is the time to contact your State/County/City election officials to understand the election process and key dates for registering. If you have never voted in an election make a personal commitment that 2024 will be your year to get engaged in determining the future of this Country.

There are only 14 calendar days until the Iowa Caucus. This will be the first Republican voting opportunity to select from the Presidential Candidates. The caucus process is very different from the common ballot process used in most States, so get educated on the process before showing up at the event. The first Primary Election will be conducted in the State of New Hampshire which occurs in just 22 days. Multiple other States will quickly follow in the months of February and March. A highlight in the 2024 election process will occur on Tuesday March 5, 2024 commonly referred to as ‘Super Tuesday’. This is the date when 15 States will all conduct their respective Primary Elections.

Here are key dates for the Primary Elections and Caucus voting by State as published by Ballotpedia:

Democratic and Republican presidential primary calendar, 2024
JurisdictionDemocraticTypeRepublicanType
Iowa03/05/24Primary01/15/24Caucus
New Hampshire01/23/24Primary01/23/24Primary
South Carolina02/03/24Primary02/24/24Primary
Nevada02/06/24Primary02/08/24Caucus
Virgin IslandsTBDCaucus02/08/24Caucus
Michigan02/27/24PrimaryTBDTBD
Idaho05/23/24Caucus03/02/24Caucus
Alabama03/05/24Primary03/05/24Primary
American Samoa03/05/24CaucusTBDCaucus
Arkansas03/05/24Primary03/05/24Primary
California03/05/24Primary03/05/24Primary
Colorado03/05/24Primary03/05/24Primary
Maine03/05/24Primary03/05/24Primary
Massachusetts03/05/24Primary03/05/24Primary
Minnesota03/05/24Primary03/05/24Primary
North Carolina03/05/24Primary03/05/24Primary
Oklahoma03/05/24Primary03/05/24Primary
Tennessee03/05/24Primary03/05/24Primary
Texas03/05/24Primary03/05/24Primary
Utah03/05/24Primary03/05/24Caucus
Vermont03/05/24Primary03/05/24Primary
Virginia03/05/24Primary03/05/24Primary
Democrats AbroadMarch 12, 2024[3]PrimaryN/AN/A
Georgia03/12/24Primary03/12/24Primary
Mississippi03/12/24Primary03/12/24Primary
Northern Marianas03/12/24CaucusTBDConvention
Washington03/12/24Primary03/12/24Primary
Arizona03/19/24Primary03/19/24Primary
Florida03/19/24Primary03/19/24Primary
Illinois03/19/24Primary03/19/24Primary
Kansas03/19/24Primary03/19/24Primary
Ohio03/19/24Primary03/19/24Primary
Louisiana03/23/24Primary03/23/24Primary
Connecticut04/02/24Primary04/02/24Primary
Delaware04/02/24Primary04/02/24Primary
New York04/02/24Primary04/02/24Primary
Rhode Island04/02/24Primary04/02/24Primary
Wisconsin04/02/24Primary04/02/24Primary
Alaska04/06/24PrimaryTBDPrimary
Hawaii04/06/24Primary03/12/24Caucus
North Dakota04/06/24Primary03/04/24Caucus
Pennsylvania04/23/24Primary04/23/24Primary
Indiana05/07/24Primary05/07/24Primary
Maryland05/14/24Primary05/14/24Primary
Nebraska05/14/24Primary05/14/24Primary
West Virginia05/14/24Primary05/14/24Primary
Kentucky05/21/24Primary05/21/24Primary
Oregon05/21/24Primary05/21/24Primary
District of Columbia06/04/24Primary03/03/24Primary
Montana06/04/24Primary06/04/24Primary
New Mexico06/04/24Primary06/04/24Primary
South Dakota06/04/24Primary06/04/24Primary
GuamTBDCaucusTBDCaucus
MissouriTBDCaucusTBDCaucus
New JerseyTBDPrimaryTBDPrimary
Puerto RicoTBDPrimaryTBDPrimary
WyomingTBDCaucusTBDConvention

https://ballotpedia.org/Important_dates_in_the_2024_presidential_race

Principles of Engaging Conversations

We can actively participate in political conversations without having to debase others, bully, intimidate, apply childish nicknames, and perpetuate false statements or half-truths. Some of our current Legislators and past leaders have attempted to normalize this type of political discussions. Let us not get caught up in the sensationalism of these abusive leaders that are dividing the Country. We are better than that. Let us rise up and do our part for those who come after us.

Here are principles to adopt in your conversations:

  1. Express your feelings with civility (love)
  2. Take time to understand opposing views. Don’t start a conversation thinking you know the best. Be open to discovery.
  3. Conversations are not debate championships. Remove the element of competition.
  4. Don’t debase yourself in attempting to defend your position. Express your principles without emotion and using facts rather than sensationalism.
  5. If you claim to be religious, let your conversation be guided by your divine attributes.
  6. In all conversations let charity, empathy, and sincere interest in learning guide discussions.

It is time for each American to accept the call of unity. It is time to eradicate bigotry, name-calling, belittling, defamation, and half-truths to create sensationalism. It is our time to Vote.

Check out more here: https://darwinreed.com

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#ParticipateInTheVote2024

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