Michael N. Searles



A few weeks ago, the theme of running the race was addressed in The True Citizen. It looks like we are nearing the finish line in the race to elect a United States Senator from Georgia. The race started months ago but neither candidate was able to win the necessary majority of the vote. Some folks likely believe the race is over. There are some who believe if they voted for a candidate earlier they do not need to vote again. Of course, we know that one time or even two times is not enough.

Whoever wins the Runoff Election on December 6, 2022 will serve the people of Georgia for the next six years. The man who wins this election will represent us and be a reflection of who we are. Runoffs are important. Our two currently serving Senators won their seats in runoffs.

The demographics are changing with elections reflecting the views of younger voters who are making their presence known. Researchers say the 2022 election had the second highest youth voter turnout in the past 30 years. The number of young people eligible to vote has dramatically increased in Georgia and nationwide. While young people have increased their percentage of voting, there are large numbers who are eligible to vote who have not.

Those registered by November 8, 2022 but were too late in the General Election are eligible to vote in the Runoff. Those of us who know young people in this situation should encourage them to evaluate the candidates and vote. Georgia has sent U.S. Senators to that body who have represented the state well—Sam Nunn, Max Cleland, and Johnny Isakson being three of them. Those men stood for integrity, honesty, and vision. Even though they represented different political parties, they approached their position with the best interests of Georgians in mind. When they stood and spoke people listened. They also had the ability to work across party lines to achieve results. For them, compromise was not a bad word; it was an essential word.

We live in a highly partisan time where conciliation often is not appreciated. A house divided against itself cannot stand is more than a phrase. We cannot live fulfilling lives or be a great nation if we do not settle our differences in a peaceful and cooperative manner. Many years ago, we embarked as a nation on a momentous journey without a clear idea where it would lead. Benjamin Franklin is credited with the phrase, “We have given you a republic if you can keep it.” The words and concept have outlived Dr. Franklin and are often repeated today. A democratic republic is a very difficult form of government to establish and maintain. Country after country has started on the path of democracy but ended in military dictatorships and autocracies. Lincoln’s “Better Angels of Our Nature” speech ended in Civil War. We often are captured by our tribal nature, prejudices, and historical traditions.

As Americans, we can test a theory: Is it possible for people of different ethnicities, religions, races, sexual orientations, and languages to live in one country in harmony and love? If we can, we will have achieved a model for other nations to follow. The road is not easy and is often filled with pitfalls and snares, but overcoming those adversities will be a triumph for humanity. The decision we make on Runoff Election Day, December 6, 2022 will represent the extent to which we want to extend the American dream to everyone who lives under our banner and Constitution.

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