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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Independence Day more than barbecues,fireworks

Carole Townsend

Carole Townsend

EDITOR'S NOTE: Carole Townsend, a correspondent for the Daily Post, writes a blog called Food For Thought. It is available at www.gwinnettdailypost.com/townsend.

Independence Day -- July 4 -- is one of my favorite holidays. Oh, I know some of you are already rolling your eyes and thinking, "Here we go on another Republican rant." But no, if I'm going to rant at all, it's going to be about being an American. I love this country. I do not always like what goes on in this country, but I do love it just the same. In some circles, apparently, that makes me an "armchair politician." I think it just makes me a voter who can string together a declarative sentence.

In fact, the fact that I often don't like how our lawmakers conduct themselves -- and I can SAY that publicly -- is why I love the U.S.A. I love the fact that if you disagree with me, you have every right to say so. You have every right (in fact, you have the privilege) of voting what your conscience and convictions dictate.

With that privilege comes the obligation to abide by the laws of our country. If the majority of citizens does not like those directives, that majority can bring enough pressure to bear on our esteemed lawmakers to vote and change the offensive laws. But that is (or should be) the only way laws are changed or stricken. Laws are not changed because a segment of society will run short on labor during certain months. Typically, laws are not changed because they've been broken for so long it just seems too hard to go back. And they should never be changed because some groups feel entitled. To what, exactly, is anyone entitled anyway?

I do not remember every detail of my U.S. history classes from high school and college, but I am very clear on one thing: if a mob of illegals (tax evaders, speeders, murderers, bank robbers, for example) marches on Washington or a state capital or even a small town mayor's office and demands that a law be changed because it is inconvenient, no dice. There are avenues which citizens -- registered, legal, voting citizens -- have available to them.

OK, now you can roll your eyes. Fire up the grill and (in surrounding states of course) light up a few fireworks. But whether you vote a straight party ticket or vote based on an individual's platform, wealth or physical attractiveness, treasure that right to vote. After all, to quote an esteemed American writer and editor, "Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote."

Do you vote? Do you consider it a privilege or an obligation? After all, there's a big difference.