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Tom Donohue: Vote for America

Do something good for your country by heading to the ballot box

Nearly 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy encouraged his fellow Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Let me suggest one thing that you can do to help your country today: vote.

Tom Donohue
Tom Donohue

For more than 234 years, the United States has stood as a beacon of hope and freedom in an oftentimes dark world. But our strength as a nation has never come from a dictator or a king. Instead, it comes from the common citizen.

When an American steps into the ballot box, that citizen is the equal of any other — education, race, religion and social class are all meaningless. It’s one person, one vote.

As a result of this system, America is one of the freest, most prosperous and most stable countries in history. In other corners of the world, disagreement over the outcome of an election could lead to riots, tanks in the streets — and worse. But not here. The peaceful transfer of power has been our hallmark. We accept the results of elections and move on.

Voting is more than a right; it’s a responsibility. Americans should educate themselves about the important issues that are at stake in each election. It’s not enough to just show up on Election Day and pull the lever for the most familiar name. Instead, you should know where the candidates stand on the issues, and then support the ones who you believe will do the most to move this country forward. This civic engagement is what keeps our democracy vibrant.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is doing its part to remind the American people of the importance of voting. We believe that free enterprise — along with our democratic values — is the foundation upon which this nation is built. That’s why we have been conducting a nationwide voter education program to remind our fellow citizens of what’s at stake in this election.

If we fail to live up to our civic obligations, we would be dishonoring those Americans who have fought — and died — to preserve our freedoms. From Washington’s men encamped at Valley Forge, to President Abraham Lincoln’s army of emancipators, to the Greatest Generation preserving a free Europe, to today’s American servicemen and servicewomen keeping us safe from terrorism, much has been risked — and lost — to make sure that we can enjoy the privileges of life as Americans.

So do something good for your country today and go vote. Click here to find your local polling location and learn more about the candidates for federal office.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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