On one of my trips to Boise recently, the headline of the local newspaper was brought to my attention. It was an article about Frank Tanabe, former unwilling Idaho resident. He was a student in Seattle when World War II broke out. He was one of 110,000 Japanese-Americans sent to ten relocation centers across the western United States by order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. At that time, many feared that these Americans would show more loyalty to Japan than to their adopted country and engage in subversion and sabotage. Instead, Tanabe enlisted in the Army where he served in the Military Intelligence Service. A few years ago, he and others in the unit received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award given by Congress. In spite of his internment experience, throughout his life Tanabe exercised his right to vote in order to have a personal role in helping to shape the direction of this country. At the age of 93, determined to the end to exercise that privilege, he voted in mid-October by absentee ballot in Honolulu from what turned out to be his deathbed.
We live in a unique country. Certainly there are other “democracies” around the world; but nowhere else, and perhaps at no other time in the history of the world, have citizens been as free and able to shape and determine the direction of their country by individually, as free moral beings, going to the polls to vote for those individuals and those measures which, in each individual’s estimation, best reflect the plans and purposes of God. I know that sounds grandiose, but that is the right given us—first by God, who shapes and orders the affairs of men and then, at His behest, by the founders of this country.
This is the opportunity set before us again on Tuesday. Let’s take it seriously and not ignore this right and privilege.