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  • Adam Foote

Voice of Democracy: Why My Vote Matters

President John Quincy Adams, the sixth commander in chief and the son of John Adams, stated, “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost”. The Founding Fathers of the United States envisioned a nation where the people have freedoms. Over time, heroes like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. would promote freedom in the country and end the divisions that were present at the time of their lives. Our military members defend the Constitution and protect our rights every single day. Our freedoms include the opportunity to vote for the change we want to see in our society. Whether it involves those who are in office, or a proposal for the recent road millage, as citizens we can make important decisions in our society. In less than a year, I will be able to register to vote and voice my views through my vote. To be able to visit a poll booth and to make an impact in our society is an honor and is something that I have always dreamed of since a child. We have the freedom to vote, and as citizens we must exercise this right.

General George Washington and the colonial army fought against the British government. But the colonies did not just fight against something, but for something. They fought for a revolutionary cause, something that has never been seen in history. The power was given to the people, and the people had control over the happenings in the country through the power of a vote. The power of the vote shocked the world in the election of 1800. John Adams was running his reelection campaign against Thomas Jefferson. The campaign was brutal, and everyone was on the edge of their seats. As the votes were tallied, Thomas Jefferson won and became the third President of the United States. Adams was hurt by this defeat, but in the end he supported Jefferson because it was the people who chose him. This was the first competitive election, and it was the people’s choice. However, at this time the voting system was not perfect; millions of Americans still didn’t have the right to vote. In 1920, women would earn the right to vote. This historic victory for freedom would help make our democracy closer to perfection. Susan B. Anthony believed in a society where everyone has the right to vote and she fought for her cause, which would promote a more perfect union. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would also improve the system of voting. Dr. King helped place the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, which prohibits discrimination against any American. These are just some of the American heroes who fought for what they believed in. In our history, Americans have worked towards a perfect democracy. A democracy where every citizen has a chance to voice their opinion through their vote. Millions have sacrificed their lives so that the individual citizen may have the chance to have a voice in their government, lifestyle, society, and more.

Those who have fought for our freedoms are American heroes. Our military members make the ultimate sacrifice every single day, and we are very thankful for what they do for us. Our service members protect our freedoms, and that includes the right to vote. As Americans, we have the freedom to choose how we want the country to look. This continues to be a true fact because our service members protect our right to vote. They have protected our past, they continue to protect our present, and they will continue to protect our future. Our voting booths are open to all and as citizens of the country we should vote. Millions of people proudly wear the “I voted” stickers on election day, and to be able to see that shows patriotism. These citizens who exercise their rights are voicing an opinion no matter who they voted for. They are stating that their voice matters in society. Those who vote believe that they can make the changes they want to see, not just in government, but in other ways as well. Over the course of the US history, there have been some very close decisions. An example that comes to mind is the presidential election of 2000. The state of Florida determined the election, and the results in that state was determined by only a few thousand votes. Every vote matters, every vote counts, and every vote is important. The right to vote is the right to make a change in society. This right is one of the things that makes the United States special. Many people do not have the rights that we have, so being able to vote is a special event. It helps protect our rights.

When I was a young child, I was very interested in the concept of voting. When I think of my childhood, my old history books come to mind. I had books that involved early American history, the Founding Fathers, and other important topics. These books would help show me the world of our voting society. The choices that the people make directly influenced with what happened in history. The interest of voting in a presidential and gubernatorial election was very present in my childhood. As I have grown, the interest is still there, and more powerful than ever. I will be able to vote in the next presidential election, and I am looking forward to help make an important decision that influences all of us. Part of growing up is learning to make choices on our own and those choices should be made with important decision making skills. The individual citizen should exercise their rights and make the changes they want to see in the world, just like Dr. King and Susan B. Anthony did. As I head to the polls in the next presidential election, I will keep in mind of the changes I want to see in the world. With my vote, I will be promoting the rights that we as Americans have and support the future of our democracy.

It is important for us as a society to vote at the polls. In our history, our American heroes fought for our right to vote. They fought for our rights, and they fought for our future. Our service members continue to fight for us every single day and we are very thankful for what they have done and for what they continue to do for us. Every vote really does count, and there have been so many reasons to vote. Our voting society is engaging and ready to make our country propel into the future. The future of our country is bright because of those who continue to fight for our rights, and for those who vote. I am excited to be one of those people who cast a ballot every chance they get, and I hope you are too.

About Voice of Democracy and Patriot Pen Programs

According to VFW Post 4090 Commander Bill Almy, “The Voice of Democracy and Patriot Pen program is the VFW's shining star when it comes to youth activities and programs. Voice of Democracy it's geared for high school level students to write essays and record their essays to be judged and screened at the post level with the opportunity to advance to District, State department and National level for total scholarship of $30,000 in college tuition to the winner at National level.”

The essays are normally two to three minutes long and the topic is chosen by the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization each year.

The Patriot Pen essay program is an opportunity for Middle School students to participate in a similar essay program. The topic again is chosen by the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization and the prize package is less than Voice of Democracy winners. The Patriot Pen program gives middle schoolers and opportunity to test their skills in the essay program and once they get to high school level participate in Voice or Democracy for greater Rewards.

The Portland Beacon has made arrangements with VFW Post 4090 to publish some of the submissions it received this year. The words, thoughts and ideas shared in the submissions are those of the author.

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