We should vote, because we can

Monday, May 8, 2006

You've probably heard the stories before:

* In 1645, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England.

* In 1649, one vote caused Charles I of England to be executed.

* In 1776, one vote gave America the English language instead of German.

* In 1845, one vote brought Texas into the Union.

* In 1868, one vote saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment.

* In 1875, one vote changed France from a monarchy to a republic.

* In 1923, one vote gave Adolf Hitler leadrship of the Nazi Party.

* In 1941, one vote saved Selective Service, just weeks before Pearl Harbor was attacked.

They are a great argument for turning out the vote; the problem is, they're not true.

It's also not true that John F. Kennedy would have lost the election had one voter in each Illinois precinct changed to Richard Nixon in 1960.

And, while Andrew Johnson was impeached -- legally charged with a crime, he was not removed from office by a margin of one vote.

Nevertheless, every vote does count; just ask Sen. Ben Nelson who narrowly defeated Don Stenberg, or President George Bush, who WAS elected by one vote -- that of a Supreme Court justice.

But our system over government is the result of centuries of blood, sweat and tears as well as good fortune and providence. Witness the difficulty of establishing a representative democracy in Iraq.

In the end, the most important reason to vote on Tuesday is simple; because we can.

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