Brian Bushweller, State Senator

17th District of Delaware

November, 2016

November:  Vote, Honor, Give Thanks

As we do around the middle of every month, in mid-October my wife Rocky and I were talking about what I might write about for my monthly column in the Modern Maturity Center “Bulletin”.  We batted a few ideas around before she mentioned something that made a lot of sense but that I had never thought about before.

She noted that in the month of November, we Americans engage in three, separate, specific activities that help frame the very essence of our democratic society.  This is not to say that November is the only month when we pause to remember or celebrate aspects of our history or of our character.  Memorial Day in May and Independence Day in July are certainly as important.

But in November, we choose our leaders, we honor our Veterans and we give thanks for the blessings that have been bestowed on us as Americans.  These are three fundamentally important elements of our great experiment in human self-governance.

Election Day.  First, don’t forget to vote!  Election Day is Tuesday, November 8.  The right to vote is the foundation of all our rights as citizens.  Extending this right to all Americans has been a 240 year struggle.

Until 1856, only white, male landowners could vote.  It took until the 1860’s for male African Americans to – technically – get the right to vote and, because of Jim Crow laws and other impediments, it was another one hundred years before that technical right became a practical reality.  I am still astounded by the fact that when my own mother was born in 1913, women did not yet have the right to vote.  It would be seven years before women would get that right across America.

A lot of people struggled for many years for all of us to get this precious right.  The least we can do is go vote.

Veterans’ Day.  One of the main reasons for our success in expanding and preserving basic rights is Veterans.  When America has been challenged by others who would destroy our magnificent venture in self-governance, whether those others were foreign nations, terrorist groups or whomever, people of all races, creeds and colors have stepped forward to put their lives on the line to protect all that we are.  And protect us they have, with some making the supreme sacrifice.

On November 11, we honor all those who served in our armed forces.  My wife and I always make it a point to attend ceremonies honoring our Veterans.  I encourage you to do the same.  The local Delaware State News will carry information about where and when these activities will take place.

Thanksgiving.  Topping off this “American” month is the day we give thanks for all the blessings we enjoy. We understand that not all people live in a society like ours.  Not all enjoy the rights we do as Americans.  We join together with family and friends to share not only the food on our tables but also our remembrances of days gone by and our hopes for days yet to come. One of the blessings less fortunate people enjoy is the generosity of others throughout the year but especially on days like Thanksgiving.  Try to find a way to help others on this day.

Thanksgiving is a very fitting way to end this month during which, in two other fundamental ways, we strengthen the bonds that make us Americans.