This past Tuesday was our primary election day in Illinois, and the picture I chose for this blog was purposeful. Sadly, the turnout for this important event was abysmally low.
Since declaring our independence, we’ve always been trying to ‘form a more perfect Union’, despite a rocky start and diversions along the way.
While many of us revere the writings of the Founders, they were not perfect men, nor did they live in perfect times, nor did they have the experiences and access to knowledge that many of us take for granted today.
What they did have was a vision for a more perfect Union. The framework for our Constitution goes back to our Independence Day. I urge each and every one of you to read the words of that Declaration again today. It wouldn’t hurt to read our Constitution again, either.
For years, I’ve celebrated our Independence Day with all the pomp and circumstance the Framers intended. As I got older, I learned more about Americans who did not feel that they’ve achieved the ideals set forth on July 4, 1776. These groups continued to be marginalized for decades and centuries after, even to this present day.
Today, a new group of our citizens is feeling that same disenfranchisement.
Those ‘truths’ Jefferson found to be self-evident, were anything but.
For those who thrust this concept of “originalism” as a justification for abridging rights, this is not what America stands for. It never has.
“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”Thomas Jefferson
Our focus has always been forward, on achieving what the Founding Fathers could not or would not do. If we genuinely care about this ‘grand experiment’ in democracy, we must actively participate in it.
When government no longer represents the governed, when citizens no longer have body autonomy, when one Right infringes on the safety and welfare of any American, we must stand up, we must act.
Change does not happen because of thoughts and prayers, marches and chants, or social media posts. Change happens by voting.
Voting in every election, not just the Presidential elections. In every Local and State election, your voice needs to be heard. The power to elect those who can make change in our laws is given to every single American citizen over the age of eighteen.
So today, you can have your BBQ and your fireworks, or you can have your protests and parades, but between now and November you must educate yourself beyond what your TV or your Party tell you, you must register, and you must vote.
Governing isn’t about appeasing special interests; it is about representing the entirety of your constituency.
The time for partisan politics and winning at all costs is long past.
We all hope for a better tomorrow and that change will come, but hope is not a plan.
Take action. Vote as if your future depends on it.
Just as it did in 1776, your actions can change the course of this Nation and bring us to where ALL of us are equal, all have the same Rights and responsibilities, and all feel represented by those who put life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness above everything else.
I will still celebrate our independence today, not to honor the past, but for the opportunity to create a better future and a more perfect Union.