November 3, 2020 was Election Day in America. This day is a celebration of democracy, the culmination of our periodic choosing of who will be leading us for the next few years. It is a day of competition with winners and losers, but it is mostly a reminder that we have decided that our government should be chosen by our people.
The very essence of democracy is compromise. In a dictatorship, one person – or one party – always gets their way. But in a democracy no one always gets to choose what they want. It works because those who take extreme positions must ultimately compromise with those who take other positions, or nothing can be accomplished.
John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address famously inspired Americans to see the importance of public service. His words, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” challenged every American to contribute in some way to the greater good. Those of us in the VA fulfill this creed every day as we serve our nation’s heroes. We are public servants. Our Veterans, of course, have served and sacrificed for their nation. These are great examples of giving back to our country.
Another way of living up to Kennedy’s words is through good citizenship. This includes support for our democratic ideals, and for allowing our country to be ruled by those principles. It includes speaking up for what is right and allowing others to speak as well. I think it also includes the humble acceptance that sometimes ideas other than our own will be what is best for our country and our fellow Americans.
Now is the time to be a patriot. Sometimes our people agree with each other and sometimes they don’t, but that is what democracy and freedom are about. I hope you took the time to vote and no matter what the outcome, we can remember that we are all proud of Americas. Together we stand, Divided we fall!
This is an excerpt that was taken from the wise words of Ms. Vivian Hutson, Director of the Columbus VA. Let Freedom Ring!