The CIA World Factbook says the United States "has the largest and most
technologically powerful economy in the world.." With a population of over
300 million people, the market value of all goods and services was almost
$14 trillion dollars in 2007-equivalent to a staggering 2.5% of the entire
world's total output. World Bank figures for 2007 show that the United
States produced more goods and services than the next four most powerful
economies: Japan, Germany, China and the United Kingdom put together.
We have the most powerful military on earth. The land is rich and fertile,
with a temperate climate. We have the largest coal reserves in the entire
world. The United States can be energy sufficient with proven oil reserves
of over 20 billion barrels and over 5 trillion cubic meters of natural gas
We've got an abundance of natural resources: corn, wheat, soybeans and other
grains. We produce beef, poultry and dairy products for ourselves and the
world. We have great fishing fleets, huge forests, a wonderful national
park system as well as nearly a quarter of a million miles of railroad
tracks reaching across the nation.
When you vote, try to put hatred and contempt aside and select the best
candidate for the position and not one that's long on promises and short on
delivery. Lots of Americans have died since this country was founded to
ensure that we all have the right to choose our own destiny through open
elections. That's a right that far too many people in the world don't have,
or have in appearances only. We're the best nation on earth and I urge
everyone to take the time to participate in the election.
Americans have typically had a very poor turnout for midterms. It saddens
me to think of all the people in the world who would love to be able to vote
in open elections - without risking death - when so many of us can't even be
bothered to find the time it takes to cast their precious ballots. There
are people living in countries like Iran where speaking out against the
government can make you disappear. Our right to dissent is more precious
than most Americans realize, even it if makes us seem incredible
contentious, the dialog is an important part of the democratic process.
The incredibly tight races we saw the last time around, like Franken v.
Coleman, show that in some cases, it takes just a few votes to change the
outcome of an election. Veteran's Day is just around the corner. Honor the
hundreds of thousands of those veterans, from the Revolution's Minutemen to
the modern day soldier in Iraq or Afpak, who have been killed or wounded to
help make sure you still have the right to cast your ballot for the
candidate of your choice. Show the world that we practice what we preach:
a representative government elected by the people.
So please, no matter who you vote for, VOTE! Show your fellow countrymen
and the whole world that we believe in democracy. Don't throw away your
voice and dishonor the sacrifices made by so many that have come before us
by blowing off this important civic duty. Whether you're a Dem, a Repub, a
Greenie or someone who believes "the rent is too damn high" don't forget to
speak up at the ballot box.
And for those of you in Chicago, living and dead, remember: Vote early and