The following is an excerpt from chapter 5 of the book Picking a President: Or Any Other Elected Official. As mid-term elections begin to take shape around the nation, I thought it might be a good short reflection on the need to take seriously our duty to vote.
Four months before Pearl Harbor, Congress voted to lengthen the time of military service from one year of active duty and 10 years in the reserve to two and one half years of active duty. This allowed the military to begin to gear up for what many believed was the United States inevitable entrance into the war.
After war was formally declared, the term of service was amended again. This Second Amendment extended the term to terminate six months after the war ended. From 1940 until 1947, when the wartime selective service act expired, more than 10,000,000 men entered the service through the draft process.
What would the history of the world look like today if the tour of duty of the American soldiers in World War II was one rather than two and a half years? We don’t know. “The Greatest Generation’s” parents took care of that. By a vote of 203-202, the Congress of the United States of America insured that the world would never have to find out.
Who was the deciding vote? Unknown.
Who cast the last vote? Unknown.
Who changed their vote at the last minute? Unknown.
What is known is this: 405 members of Congress decided that their vote mattered and 203 came out on the side of history with their vote and helped to create the military force without which the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans would have become Fascist lakes. They each got up, had their coffee, left their homes, organized their day and were present and accounted for with their vote. One of them tipped the scales and world history changed.
This election, your vote could do the same.
Picking a President, (CrossBooks, 2012), p. 23-24