In America, Government Rules by the Consent of the People
On Sept. 18, 1787, Benjamin Franklin stepped out of Independence Hall in Philadelphia after meeting with the Continental Congress, which was drafting the new Constitution. A curious woman standing nearby asked him what kind of government we would have. Dr. Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” From the very founding of our nation, our government has ruled by the consent of the people. Voting is therefore an important duty of every American.
On Nov. 8, millions of Americans will carry on this time-honored tradition and cast their ballots in the midterm elections. Although there is no presidential race this year, all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives will be on the ballot, along with one-third of the U.S. Senate and a wide range of state and local offices. These races will significantly shape the direction of our state and our nation.
Government Of, By, and For the People
When our founding fathers broke away from Britain in 1776, they sincerely believed that they were establishing a “new order of the age.” After all, this was the first time in history that any nation had formed a new government based on the will of the people. Their vision was bold and audacious, and they understood it would make them targets of the British crown. Yet they believed so firmly in freedom that they pledged to each other “our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor,” and then signed their names in ink for the world to see. In the years that followed, thousands of Americans would give their lives in the War for Independence. Because of their sacrifice, our nation was victorious and secured the right to be an independent republic.
Since then, our way of life has come under attack repeatedly, showing that freedom is fragile. In 1812, some 30 years after the revolution, the British invaded and tried to retake U.S. territory. In 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, drawing our nation into World War II – a vast conflict between the free world and hostile tyrannies. Soon afterward, we entered a 50-year Cold War against Soviet-led communism, which aimed to crush freedom around the world. Most recently, terrorists attacked our nation on 9/11, leading to the War on Terror. In each conflict, American service members courageously put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe and protect the freedoms we cherish.
The Founders’ Prediction Comes True
In the time since our nation’s founding, much of the world has followed our lead in holding free and fair elections. Today there are an estimated two billion voters across 50 countries and six continents. India has become the world’s largest democracy, with over 800 million eligible voters. The founders turned out to be right when they predicted that self-government would be the “new order of the age.” We are profoundly fortunate to live in the world’s oldest, freest, and most prosperous republic.
Keep Our Republic on Nov. 8
Benjamin Franklin’s challenge to “keep” our republic is just as relevant today as it was 235 years ago. Today our nation faces rampant inflation, a shaky economy, rising crime, an open southern border, and growing threats from China and Russia. Nov. 8 is our golden opportunity to weigh in on these and other vital issues. I encourage every eligible Mississippian to show up at the polls and vote.
NOTE: This is the Wicker Report, Sen. Roger Wicker’s Weekly Report column and is provided by the Senator’s office.