I have a right to vote
by Alan Reed
Sep 10, 2008 | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As an American and a journalist, I believe in the rights guaranteed by the Constitution of this nation. On a daily basis, I champion the rights of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press, but one right, to me, transcends all others, the Right to Vote. On the special election that may or may not be held on September 30, residents of South Cadiz Precinct One may chose to permit or deny the sale of alcoholic beverages at the Arrowhead Golf Course. The Concerned Citizens for Family Environment have sought to bring a halt to the election, denying my fellow residents and me an opportunity to decide the fate of this issue.

The yes or no choice is no longer the issue. What is at stake now is my right to vote. This right has been defended by countless generations of American servicemen and women, paid for in blood and sacrifice. When I go to the polls, I proudly wear a button on my shirt with the name of my cousin, Staff Sergeant Bradford Alexander, who sacrificed to defend not only our right of suffrage, but brought it to the citizens of Iraq, who did not enjoy that freedom during the reign of Saddam Hussein. It’s what makes America unique in the world, that we can decide our fate in free elections. We were the first nation with this freedom, and I daresay, the model for all other countries that followed suit.

Elections come with a price tag, even a small one with only one precinct going to the polls. When so many have paid so much more to guarantee my freedom to pull the lever, I don’t mind a small burden as a taxpayer to exercise this right.

I fully appreciate that the Concerned Citizens for Family Environment seek to place an injunction on the election out of a feeling of moral righteousness. They believe in their position as much as the Trigg County Alliance for Progress believes that alcohol is needed to sustain the golf course. I challenge the Concerned Citizens to let voters have our say. They believe that the petition initiating the election may have been submitted against the law that would allow it. They may be right in their belief, but I am not an attorney or a judge to decide this. Circuit Court Judge C.A. “Woody” Woodall may only man who can decide that.

If the petition and the election violate the word of the spirit of the law, then it could be challenged and nullified after September 30, allowing voters their referendum. Why deny us our right to voice our beliefs via secret ballot? Though the dry faction believes passionately in its position, is not a greater principle at stake? The right to vote is a part of our Constitution. Though alcohol was once a part of the Constitution, the 21st Amendment removed it from our fundamental law. The right to vote takes precedence.

Other nations governed by fundamentalist theocracies also deny their citizens the right to vote on issues, including alcohol. I do not compare the Concerned Citizens for Family Environment to Islamic fundamentalist regimes such as those that govern Iran in any other category other than this attempt to deny voters their say. They eschew violence, generally espouse the rights of women, and certainly do not sponsor terrorism or seek weapons of mass destruction. Yet now, I am sorry to say, Trigg County voters face a similar denial expression based on a feeling of moral and dogmatic superiority. I’m not saying their position is wrong, nor am I saying it is correct; I am simply disagreeing with their tactic to halt a civil referendum.

Not only do I feel that my right to choose may be denied, but I feel insulted. By halting the election, not to uphold the letter of the law, but to prevail and keep alcohol from being sold within county lines, the Concerned Citizens for Family Environment are telling me and my fellow voters that we cannot be trusted to decide such an issue, and should be prevented from having an opportunity to do so. This “by any means necessary” tactic shows that the Concerned Citizens not only feel the superiority of their cause, but superiority in their ability to govern their lives and the lives of others as well. I call upon the leaders of the organization to recognize this unmitigated arrogance and correct it. Believe in your fellow citizen, a voter, an adult, an individual allowed to own firearms, operate a motor vehicle, serve and protect our nation by joining the Armed Forces and to run for public office and make the laws that we live by.

The Concerned Citizens have mobilized a number of citizens and voters within our community. These men and women will be at the polls to cast their vote against the initiative. Ministers have urged their congregations to do the same. This is the way to defeat the measure, by voting no. In America, referendums end in two ways, by passing or failing. One side wins, while the other loses. The loser must abide by the decision until it appears on the ballot again for another choice to be made. This is the American way. By denying us a vote, a battle might be won, but a greater sacrifice is made as freedom pays a price.

If the Concerned Citizens win at the polls, the point is moot. If they lose, they may challenge the election in court, just as they are now. If they are correct in their interpretation, the Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Commission will not issue a permit for the golf course to sell drinks, and again, they have won. At least if the County holds the election, voters had their say in a referendum, and no voice went unheard. Their organization possesses other avenues besides a cancelled election.

Author Louis L’Amour said, “To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain.” To make democracy work, we must vote. Our complaint is to be permitted to vote, otherwise, we should abandon our claim to democracy and accept that we have taken a step towards theocracy through legal wrangling and silent acquiescence.
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