While all of us have individual lists of New Year’s resolutions, as U.S. citizens we should have at least one common goal to participate in this year’s presidential election with renewed commitment. As we were reminded Thursday by the death of Pakistani presidential candidate Benazir Bhutto, in some places of the world citizens risk their lives for the privilege of voting in a free election.
That is sometimes hard to remember in a country where the presidential race has turned into a two-year-long festival of bickering, polling, gossiping and posturing, and where fewer of us each year remember the horror of seeing one of our own candidates, Robert Kennedy, cut down by a bullet at a political rally.
It is easy here in the heartland of a stable democracy to take voting for granted, to be annoyed by the late-night campaign callers, or to assume our measly ballot will be miscounted anyway.
But this year, while American soldiers are risking their lives to help Iraqis and Afghanis establish democracies of their own and oppressed citizens in other oppressed countries look to America as a role model for a free society, we have a unique obligation to participate in the democratic process.
For Utahns, the 2008 election officially begins Feb. 5 when, for the first time, local residents will have a chance to cast votes in the Western States Presidential Primary, which will help determine who will represent each party in the final race. It also may be the only chance some will have to make a stand for their favorite candidates before they are eliminated.
The next step, of course, will be for each citizen to study the issues, to listen to the candidates, to question them if possible and to make sure he or she is registered to vote on Nov. 4.
With so much blood spilled all over the world this year, Americans have an obligation in 2008 to demonstrate how a democracy can and should work.
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Hideout residents have begun the process to challenge the town’s annexation of Richardson Flat. The referendum application is in its early stages, but a group of residents will be tasked with collecting about 100 signatures in coming months to put the question to voters.