“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision.” - Abraham Lincoln
DEMOCRACY, we have all heard the word spread throughout our lives and I am afraid many of us do not fully understand its meaning.
There is no real consensus on how best to define DEMOCRACY; however, political freedom and rule of law are two of the most popular and succinct ways to do so. In the United States, the Constitution provides the “right” to vote in the Bill of Rights. Interestingly, the right was only granted to about 6% of the population at that time. You had to be a white male and a property owner to vote! Since that effort, we have had to amend that right on three separate occasions in order to help protect it, as well as provide it to all age appropriate residents regardless of race, religion, creed or gender.
The right to vote is one of the few individual rights we all enjoy, and it is our duty and responsibility as good citizens to exercise that right whenever we get the chance to do so. In a democracy, the majority rules, yet in most municipal elections less than 40% of eligible voters actually vote. And in off-year elections, the number is even less. Typical results from local municipal elections demonstrate that many people don’t understand or support a democracy. Here in Destin, the expectation is 20-25% of eligible voters will actually turn out and vote on March 13.
Many issues currently in the forefront of the City Council will be decided by the voters based on who they elect this month. The issues have been contentious and will continue to be so. But the ultimate decision is with the eligible voters.
If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain about the direction your elected officials are taking the City. If you don’t vote, you cannot complain about traffic, permits, licenses, fees and a myriad of other issues.
At least by exercising your right to vote, you can follow on that by becoming more involved and, if needed, more vocal about the direction your local government is taking. Wasting your vote by not using it is the most selfish and uninformed decision you can make about your City’s future. I implore each and every resident of the City of Destin to go to the polls on March 13 and exercise that all-American right to vote! Do it for yourself, for your children and your grandchildren! Their future is at stake in every election and this one is no exception.
Elections do belong to the people, please make your decision on this election and exercise your right to vote!
General Manager, Destin Commons
2018 Destin Chamber Chairman of the Board