Some won — some lost. I tip my hat to those who stepped up to the plate — win or lose — and say thank you for doing what you did, offering to serve, offering new ideas in an arena in what many refer to as a nasty business. Only one man has ever been elected president of these United States without opposition — George Washington.
But to remain a free nation, America must always have courageous men and women willing to step up to the plate — toss their preverbal hat in the ring, and say, “Let’s do it.” It doesn’t matter the reason they do it, they do it — and I thank them for doing it.
Before moving forward, let me say one more thing. On May 20, only 20.3 percent of our Cherokee registered voters voted. Statewide, the vote was less than 20 percent. To those of you registered to vote, but didn’t and to those of you eligible to register to vote, but didn’t, I say “shame on you.” You are opening the door for a Hitler or a Stalin to take away your freedom to vote. If that ever happens let me assure you, you won’t like it. No people ever have.
At our recent Mike Byrd breakfast meeting where the discussion was on the winners and losers of the primary election, we all agreed the big losers were Cherokee County and Georgia with such a low turnout of voters. A second comment that garnered our attention was the comment that reminded us Hitler took over Germany in 1933 with only 14 percent of the electorate.
And then, between 1933 and 1945 Hitler literally destroyed Germany and most of Western Europe. Two wars in less than 100 years — World War I and II — caused by vain self-seeking glory hungry individuals caused the death of over 100 million people — yes — that’s over 100 million people who died because of voters who did not vote.
Yes, the recent political campaigns here in Cherokee County got nasty, very nasty at times, but they were nasty accusations of words — sometimes ill-chosen words but they were not bullets or the smashing of windows, or the breaking into homes and carting whole families off to a gas chamber in Poland because of their religious beliefs.
Yes, these things actually happened. I was witness to them in my youth. Will the non-voters of Georgia allow such things to happen here in Georgia? I hope not. Most people usually don’t believe it could ever happen here in America. It can, and will, if non-voters continue to refuse to accept their citizenship responsibility to take part in the election system where they live.
Most of us who attend the Byrd breakfasts are what the younger generation would call the dinosaurs of America — those who clearly see the dangers of uprooting the time-tested biblically rooted principles and traditions America has treasured since 1787. We see ourselves as senior citizens which to us is a better sounding term. But most of us have served in America’s military — have seen the atrocities of war, have faced the challenges of earning a living in an every changing political world, and have seen what happens when power hungry dictators, like Russia’s leader today, take over and decide they are going to take over the world and mold it according to their own ideas of what it should be.
As I sat at that table and listened, I couldn’t help think of America’s Founders, of their courage, especially those who signed the Declaration of Independence knowing they were signing their own death warrants should they lose the Revolutionary War they were then fighting, and thinking how similar their story is to those ancient Israelites who covenanted with Jehovah that they would live his commandments and statutes forever, but didn’t, and then had the wrath of Jehovah come down on them, leaving them a hiss and byword.
America’s Founders covenanted with one another and with God to live by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Perhaps we should do the same today — covenant to live God’s laws.
A special thanks to Joe Robert who stood up, ran, then died last week.
Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.