The United States began when 56 men affixed their signatures to a document that concluded with the following line: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” Speaking on behalf of their countrymen, these men declared the establishment of a new government, founded not on blood, but on the idea that the powers of government are derived from its people. Twelve years later, the people of the country came together, as prescribed in its new Constitution, to elect George Washington to be the nation’s first President.
Although he was the expected choice, the pressure on Washington was immense. A man of great courage and conviction, Washington also had a keen understanding of history and his place within it. He knew that his every action would set a precedent for those that would follow him. 42 men have held the office since our first President. Some performed admirably, others less so, but in each case they were selected by we the people acting under our founding principle.
It is very easy for one to feel that their vote doesn’t matter in a country of 300 million. But in voting we not only exercise the fundamental right that those 56 men pledged their lives and fortunes for, but we honor them, and ourselves as Americans as well. For over 200 years, in times of great national pride and in shame, in times of triumph and in times of adversity, we have continually proven our commitment to ensuring that this “experiment in government” shall not die. It is for both those that have preceded us, and those that will follow, that we come together to perform our sacred duty. Tomorrow we are called upon to select the President, please vote.