When I hear people complaining about what is going on in their lives and the world, I ask them what we should do about those issues. Usually, they say, “Oh, nothing,” because their vote doesn’t really count, no one will listen to their ideas, and they do not matter in the big picture of world events, anyway. Across time, people have used this reasoning for not voting, not getting involved, and letting less qualified people run our world; however, history demonstrates that one vote has made the difference on several important occasions, and when “little people” unite, their impact may become a most powerful force.
In 1645, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England.
In 1776, a few votes in the Continental Congress gave the United States the English language instead of German.
In 1820, President James Monroe ran for a second term. He was so popular that he won all but a single vote in the Electoral College. John Quincy Adams cast the one vote against Monroe. Adams stated that the reason he did this was “to make certain that only George Washington would ever have the honor of being elected President by a unanimous vote.”
In 1845, one vote in the U. S. Congress brought Texas into the Union. That same vote also resulted in the U. S. acquisition of Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, California and part of Colorado.
In 1868, Andrew Johnson, who became President after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, was impeached by the U. S. House of Representatives for abusing his executive powers and was tried in the U. S. Senate but was found not guilty by one vote.
In 1875, one vote changed France from a monarchy to a republic.
In 1920, one Tennessee vote ratified the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, giving women the right to vote.
In 1923, one vote gave Adolf Hitler leadership of the Nazi Party.
In 1941, one vote saved the Selective Service, just weeks before Pearl Harbor was attacked.
In 1960, Richard Nixon lost the presidential election, and John F. Kennedy won it by a margin of less than one voter per precinct in Illinois.
In 1976, one vote derailed HR-11193 and prevented the U. S. from adopting the handgun ban.
In the 1996 U. S. presidential election, fewer than half of the nation’s voters voted!
Even as recently as in the year 2000, only a few more votes from only a couple of counties in Florida would have resulted in Al Gore being elected the President of the United States.
Martin Luther King said, “Voting is more than a badge of citizenship and dignity. It’s a tool for change.”
Cast your vote and make a difference in the next election. One vote can make the difference. If the person who cast the deciding vote in the examples above had not voted, what would have happened to our country and the world?
Words and Action
When we write and share our positive ideas with readers, we are “voting” for humanity. When we choose to increase our literacy and help others do the same, we are “voting” for the betterment of all. When we take even one step to improve the way we move through the world, we are “voting” to bring a little more light to those areas filled with shadows.
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Do your part to celebrate our language and reduce the darkness in the world.
– David Martin