It’s Not Too Early to Think About Election Day

We live in troubled times and there are certainly no easy answers to the problems that plague this country. There are no shortages of proposals being offered to address our nation’s issues. The problem is that the climate in Washington, DC, and in state houses throughout the country, has become so politically charged that our legislators are seldom willing to work together to reach consensus on the solutions. But their intransigence should not discourage us from exercising our duties in the political process.


The greatest privilege we possess as Americans is the right to vote. The right to cast our vote for the political leaders we send to Washington, DC, to the state houses and to city halls. The right to vote for bond measures that fund our fire stations and schools and for the referendums that impact the way we live our lives. And yet, so many Americans do not take advantage of that right.

In the last Presidential election, less than 60 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots. Where were the other 40 percent? This notion of not voting because one vote will not make a difference is nonsense. Just ask Al Gore who was 500 votes short of being elected President in 2000.

We should cherish our right to vote. It is the cornerstone of our democracy from which the real power is placed in the hands of the people. Never underestimate what one vote can mean in an election. Quite frankly, your one vote earns you the right to speak out and express your feelings about our government. The same cannot necessarily be said of the person who complains about the state of our government yet does not cast a ballot on election day. 

There are over one million firefighters in this nation. We serve in communities, both large and small and ethnically diverse. We are white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and other races as well. We are Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and other faiths. We are Democrat, Republicans, and Independents. We are a melting pot of Americans bestowed with the same and equal right to vote — one vote each — and that is something we should cherish and never take for granted. And because of who we are and the respect we have earned from the citizens as members of the fire and emergency services, we should set an example for others by always voting on election day and encouraging others to do the same.

As President Thomas Jefferson once said, “We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”

Bill Webb has served as Executive Director of the Congressional Fire Services Institute since 1995. CFSI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy institute designed to enhance congressional awareness about the concerns and needs of the fire and emergency services. As Executive Director, he works closely with members of Congress and fire service leaders to sustain support on Capitol Hill for programs and legislation that benefit our nation’s fire and emergency services. Before joining CFSI, Webb worked for the Firefighter Combat Challenge as the project manager for the competition. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and is an honorary member of the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department, the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters’ Association and the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 36.

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.