Every four years Americans have the opportunity to choose who will lead this great country for the next four years. The U.S. Constitution provides for a balance of power consisting of three branches of government, the Executive (President), the Legislative (Congress), and the Judicial (Supreme Court). This separation is designed to keep any one person or group from seizing too much power or influence over the country’s affairs. Even though there is this “Balance of Power”, the choice of President is a very important one.
The process of selecting a President is sometimes misunderstood. The “Electoral College”, as it is known, is a process of choosing “Electors” state by state, that will meet and actually choose the President. This process is a compromise between Congress choosing a President and a purely popular vote of qualified citizens. There are many arguments for and against this system, but it was designed to insure that all citizens, of every state, have a role in the process, and not just those in the most populous states.
Regardless of your opinion of the process, the ability to vote and choose who will lead our country is not only a “Right” but it is our “Duty” as Americans. Many have fought and died over the years to enable and maintain this opportunity. For this reason every citizen of this country should take the time to consider the issues and vote according to your beliefs and principals.
Our political system has long been divided into multiple “parties”, each having developed different “platforms” or philosophies, in which they state their agenda and goals. Many of these parties have changed names and platforms over the years, which sometimes makes it hard to choose which party you most identify with. The two major parties that dominate the political scene these days are the Democratic and the Republican parties.
The original Democrat-Republican party (circa 1792-1824) was formed by Thomas Jefferson and was in opposition to the Federalist party which believed in strong Federal government as opposed to states rights. This party split mainly over the issue of slavery; Republicans opposed it , and Democrats were in favor of it. This division led up to the Civil War.
Democratic Party- currently this party aligns itself with a more “liberal” agenda. Their platform is in favor of a larger, more powerful federal government and less powerful state governments. They also feel that the role of government is critical in most areas of daily life. Some notable members of the Democratic Party are Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.
Republican Party- currently this party aligns itself with a more “conservative” agenda. Their platform is in favor of a more limited federal government and more personal freedoms. They also feel that the role of government in everyday life should be minimal. Some notable members of the Republican Party are Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Ronald Reagan.
Whichever party one feels drawn to, the decision on who to vote for should be a personal choice, driven by your own principles and beliefs. The negativity currently seen in ads and other media sometimes makes this hard, but examining the candidate’s records and past accomplishments can be a good way to decide. Whatever your beliefs are, you should perform your civic duty and go vote.
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