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  • Writer's pictureKathleen Kerr

November's Call to Gratitude and Governance: Reflecting on Our Civic Duties

November, a month rich with the spirit of thankfulness and the duty of civic participation, brings into focus two pivotal aspects of American heritage: Thanksgiving and Election Day. These occasions, though seemingly distinct, both embody the core values that underpin our nation's greatness.

Thanksgiving is a time-honored tradition, a day we set aside to count our blessings—blessings often safeguarded by those who serve in our military and by the elected officials in state and local governments. It's a day to reflect on the freedoms we enjoy and the prosperity we've cultivated, acknowledging the sacrifices made on our behalf.

Election Day, meanwhile, offers us the chance to shape the future of our communities and our country. It's a day that echoes the vision and toil of our founding fathers, who laid down the principles of democracy and governance we continue to uphold. It's a reminder of our privilege to participate in the democratic process, a right fought for and enshrined by generations of Americans.

Consider Benjamin Rush—a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a physician, and a political leader who balanced his passion for science with a profound sense of civic responsibility. Despite his aspirations for a peaceful life devoted to science and family, Rush recognized the importance of his role in nurturing the fledgling democracy of his time. His dedication serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring commitment required to maintain and preserve our democratic ideals.

Thomas Janoski, in his book "Citizenship and Civil Society", articulates a thought-provoking notion: that while rights are inseparable from obligations, obligations may stand alone. This underscores a profound truth about our participatory democracy—that it demands active engagement and a recognition of our collective responsibilities as citizens.

In this election year, let us delve into the platforms and propositions of those who seek to represent us. While consensus on every issue is unrealistic, respect and appreciation for the democratic process, and those who partake in it, are paramount. It's a time to affirm our commitment to our community and nation by exercising our right—and fulfilling our duty—to vote.

If you're eligible and haven't registered to vote, remember it's never too late to take part in person at your local town office or city hall. To vote, you simply need to be a resident of your community, at least 18 years old, and a U.S. citizen.

This November let's embrace our roles as custodians of democracy with gratitude for the past and hope for the future. Participate, be heard, and contribute to the ongoing story of our great nation.

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