OPINION: The Patriotic Duty of Voting


Julia Fassero, VOX Reporter

An estimated 93 million people, 45.2% of eligible voters, did not exercise their right to vote in the 2012 presidential election.  This year is an election year, and an important one as well.

The 45th President of the United States will take office at a critical time:  the president will sign laws, will interact with the allies and the enemies of the United States, and may possibly have the opportunity to appoint Supreme Court justices.  In short, she or he will have a hand in shaping America.

Americans are blessed to have the right to choose their president.  Because of this, Americans have a duty to vote:  a duty to the Founding Fathers, a duty to ourselves, a duty to future generations and a duty to God.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States, once stated, “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves, and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”  These words, which are undeniably true, emphasize just how important the duty of voting actually is.  Our Founding Fathers fought and died to give their children and grandchildren the right to govern themselves.

Pullquote Photo

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves, and the only way they could do this is by not voting.” ”

— President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of our nation, aptly described the American system as a “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.

A government of the people consists of Americans running for office; a government by the people requires the American citizens to vote for the best candidate; a government for the people entails those elected to office doing what is best for the nation and in the best interests of her people.

If we don’t vote, we don’t allow our voices to be heard; if we don’t allow our voices to be heard, soon no one will want to hear them.

The Catholic Church emphasizes the importance of voting, even going so far as to call it a moral obligation: “In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation[…]. The obligation to participate in political life is rooted in our baptismal commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to bear Christian witness in all we do.”[1]

Catholic Americans must use their vote to elect officials and uphold laws protecting the sanctity of life from conception to natural death, religious liberty and the true definition of marriage, among other moral issues.

If we don’t vote, the unborn lose their voice.  If we don’t vote, we slowly deprive ourselves of a government of the people, by the people and for the people.  If we don’t vote, we show a lack of appreciation for those who fought and died for our liberty and those who still do today.

If we do vote, we speak up for those who can’t.  If we do vote, we protect our system of government.  If we do vote, we show appreciation for those who laid down their lives for their country and fellow men.  If we do vote, we protect our right to vote.

As Ronald Reagan, the 40th president, once said, “The right to vote is the crown jewel of American liberties, and we will not see its luster diminished.”

[1] Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, No. 13