Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Vote Like a Transcendentalist

Vote Like a Transcendentalist

Like many Americans, I have been thinking a lot about this election and my place in the historic nature of it. As a modern day Transcendentalist, I turned to the likes of Thoreau and Emerson for their thoughts. Thoreau, who famously marched to the beat of his own drummer, quoted the motto, “the government is best which governs least” in his essay, “On Civil Disobediance,” calling government “a sort of wooden gun to the people themselves.” This is the man who famously spent the night in jail for failure to pay a local tax because he did not want to support the American government’s war with Mexico.

However, contrary to popular belief, Thoreau did not call for the abolishment of government:

But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.

In following this call, I am making known what kind of government will command my respect: one that will weigh many options before deciding what might be best for the majority of the world’s citizens, not just Americans; one that recognizes that we are merely temporary inhabitants of this earth and not owners of it; and one that will seek to erase the divides and injustices that separate us from each other and not seek to institutionalize them. That, for me, is best represented by the candidacy of Barack Obama, and I urge all of you to get out and vote.
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