Tuesday was the Texas primary, the day we select who we’re going to put on the ballot in November in order to select those who will represent us in our local counties, states and at the national level.
For some reason, many people don’t bother to vote in the primaries because they don’t think it really matters. What those people fail to realize is that the primaries are where the final candidate is chosen for each party to go head-to-head with their opponent of the opposite party in the November election. That candidate may not be one who represents you the way you feel should be represented, however. Which is what makes the primaries so important.
For those who are currently serving our nation and for our veterans who once served, along with their families, voting for those who will be responsible for the budget that keeps our troops trained and paid — and pays for our veteran benefits — is one of the most important of our civic duties.
The dictionary defines civic duty as “the responsibilities of a citizen.” These responsibilities include things like obeying the law, serving on a jury, paying taxes and voting. For those of us who have served or still serve, it is the fundamental duty imposed on all American citizens by the Constitution we swear to uphold and defend.
Those who have gone before us and did their civic duty have been able to make some amazing and necessary changes to our Constitution and the laws of our country. It was they who ensured the abolition of slavery and guaranteed the right of all men, regardless of color, to vote. It was they who finally ensured women could vote.
All because they performed their civic duty.
Now, I don’t propose you just go out and vote just to vote: It does help to do your homework on the candidates to find out what they believe in. If you vote for someone based upon their looks or the fact their name sounds nice, you might get someone who believes in the complete opposite of your values.
But that is a part of performing this particular duty — ensuring you are informed enough to make a competent decision. As veterans and service members, we should be well-versed in what it takes to make an informed decision.
Primary election day is done, and I can only hope you took the time to ensure your voice was heard through your vote. It’s a subject we should be discussing with our families, our children and with our junior troops.
If you missed the primaries, start looking now into who will be on the ballot in November. It’s not too late to do your civic duty.
David A. BRYANT is an Army retiree and a military journalist for the Killeen Daily Herald. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7554.