As the story goes when the average lifespan was 35 years, an 81-year-old Ben Franklin was approached by a woman. The Constitution had been ratified that September in 1787:
“What kind of government shall we have?” she asked.
He answered, “A republic. If you can keep it.”
And he rather hoped it would stick.
As this republic was Ben Franklin’s second chance at starting up a country.
The first government, under the laws formed in the Articles of Confederation, stilted and sputtered in its actual use.
The Congress under this Confederation sent of some great minds to a team meeting in Philadelphia. They weren’t there to make what we have now.
In was in this convention, they were tasked to make only edits and revisions.
Instead, they reinvented.
A version 2.0, if you will, and people didn’t like this upgrade, this Constitution. Well, not immediately.
Congress initially wanted to censure the delegates for overstepping their bounds. Others thought it formed too central of a government. There was the issue of it being formed by well-off gentlemen much like the royalty they had fought against.
83 years after the Constitution ratification in 1870, the fifteenth amendment passed Congress to the constitution allowed men of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude” to vote.
133 years after the Constitution ratification in 1920, the nineteenth amendment passed Congress allowing women, like the one who asked Franklin about her new country, could finally cast a vote to help steer the course.
The year is 2016. It’s been 229 years since the Constitution ratification. The current average life expectancy is now 79 years — longer if you eat more of the boring stuff — and we still have a signs of life in this republic.
Some responsibility in continuing a republic, though, is voting. Voting is rather a blunt tool to steer the country.
For one, we get to do it infrequently. And second a vote is a step or two removed from the work of government.
Second, the we-the-people pick out of the few-of-the-concerned that stand up to do the government work so we can do our own jobs, attend our own families, and pursue other interests than that of government. Most people simply do not want or cannot be bothered with it’s day-to-day operations.
Yet, the vote is vital to the process. Voting is doing our part to keep this great experiment of a republic living a little bit longer.
If you are of the legal voting age and in good standing with the law, you can vote, yet so many Americans do not.
In years when there is a presidential race to decide, the voting percentage is 54.9% of all able voters. That number has not been in the 60% area since the 1960s. Those modern numbers are painfully low when deciding the a president.
Today is Super Tuesday. Americans are not voting for a president today — it’s more important. Today a large number of states hold primary elections to pick the candidates that get to run for their party’s candidate.
If you have not already, vote in the primary. (If you have already voted in your state’s primary, thank you.)
If you are not registered to vote. Don’t worry. Register to vote so you can vote in November.
Super Tuesday Primaries
- Alaska (GOP Only/Caucus)
- American Samoa (Dem Only/Caucus)
- Colorado (Dem Only/Caucus)
- Minnesota (Caucus)