The right to vote has been a benefit of American citizenship since the Republic’s 1776 founding. Reserved exclusively for citizens, whether native-born or naturalized legal immigrants, it is a right not taken lightly nor given freely to those for whom it was never intended.

Living in the age of sail, the Founding Fathers could not foresee the implications of modern travel, including anchor births and the massed entry of illegal immigrants. Immigration laws should be construed within the context of the era in which they were created, not subverted by technology.

America is truly a land of immigrants. Those who built the country, however, were legal immigrants, a distinction frequently overlooked by those who enjoy quoting Emma Lazarus’ Statue of Liberty sonnet, The New Colossus: “Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...”

New citizen or old, all who leave their former worlds behind, assimilate as Americans and pledge their allegiance to country and flag are encouraged to exercise their right to vote, the most sacred right of citizenship. Residents of other lands, still cowering under demagogues or deranged religious despots, enjoy no such power over their circumstances.

Seven thoughts to ponder on your way to the polls:

1. Our booming economy, enhanced trade status, restored world leadership, historically low unemployment, innovative Middle East peace accord, reduced taxes, returning jobs, border wall construction, decreased terrorism and increased legal immigration are all achievements of the current administration.

None of these accomplishments resulted from any actions of the previous administration. Unfortunately, these noteworthy advances receive scant coverage in our major media, which have been largely co-opted by political miscreants masquerading as journalists.

2. Do not vote like a robot. Do not blindly cast your ballot for a particular party simply because that is how your grandparents and parents voted. Read, research and spend some time listening to conservative talk radio programs.

Our political parties have changed significantly over the last half-century and the world has turned over many times since the days of our ancestors. If they were alive today, chances are they would vote differently now, so your blind voting does not honor their memory. As Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

If you live in the present and have hope for the future, do not vote in the past.

3. Pay more attention to what our national leaders and their would-be opponents actually do, and pay less attention to what they say. Words are wind, and it is deeds that count, for accomplishments, not promises, are the measure of a man, or a woman.

It is easy to criticize those with great responsibility if you have never known its demands. In the end, however, the rewards belong to the man in the arena who spends himself in mighty efforts for the benefit of others.

4. Step out of your comfort zone. Make an effort to converse with those of different stripes. You just may find that there is intelligent life out there in the political party that is not your own.

Be bold, be brave and do not fear changing your way of thinking, as it may open a whole new world for you. Avoid characterizing entire groups of people by simply mimicking the unfair and inaccurate criticisms mouthed by others.

Use the brain that God gave you and think for yourself. The ability to change one’s mind, after all, is the mark of superior intelligence.

5. Presidents come and go, but congressmen blather on forever. Many have spent 30, 40 or nearly 50 years in Congress doing nothing, but at election time they suddenly promise to solve all the country’s problems, attributing all of them to the current administration. The latest raft of deplorable presidential hopefuls -- all standing on the two-legged platform of raising taxes and beating Trump -- are surely headed for a fall. 

6. Many congressmen enrich themselves through insider trading and by taking millions in contributions from foreign governments seeking favors, often skirting the law by laundering otherwise illegal donations through bogus charities or family members. This is how many retire as multi-millionaires on a $174,000 salary.

To paraphrase former President Harry Truman, “You can’t get rich in politics unless you’re a crook.”

These people do not care about us, and they think that you are stupid. Prove them wrong by voting them out. Your right to vote is your only opportunity to oust these human leeches and correct the Constitution’s only flaw by implementing de facto term limits.

7. Ignore false arguments against the Electoral College. Its absence would make your vote irrelevant, unless you lived in one of the four most populous states of California, Texas, Florida or New York. Worse yet, a popular vote election would enable a third-party candidate to win the Presidency with just 34 percent of the vote. 

Remember this advice, give life to these words, and take these thoughts with you into the sanctity of the voting booth, where you will hold the future of America, the world and all that we hold dear in the palm of your hand. Think.

Warren Russo is a veteran journalist who writes from Plum Island. Reach him via WPRJournalist@gmail.com.

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