Opinion of Justice Bidwell
When you first turned 18, what were you excited to do first as you ventured into adulthood? For some, turning 18 meant they could finally do all the things their parents forbid them to do. At 18, you can finally get into certain clubs and bars, get a tattoo or a piercing without a parent’s signature and go skydiving. For others, turning 18 meant they could finally make a real difference in our country. Whether that difference meant fighting to protect our freedom overseas or even casting their vote for the first time.
Most people at 18 are so excited to experience their newfound freedoms that they do not stop to think about how they got those freedoms or how they can keep them. They do not stop to think about how the United States once fought to secure our liberty or how many steps the Founding Fathers took to ensure that future generations did not have to suffer at the hands of tyranny.
According to the Constitution Center Organization, at the close of the Constitutional Convention, where the Constitution was drafted, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a group of citizens what kind of government the delegates had created for the people. The people wanted to keep their newfound freedom from England and feared another monarchy. Franklin replied, “A republic … If you can keep it.”
What Franklin meant by “if you can keep it” is that a government cannot be sustained without effort from the people. For some people, your duty as a citizen of the United States is to constantly fight for your freedoms, your freedoms to do various things and your freedoms from various things.
Many young people at 18 do not know that the easiest thing they can do to fight for their freedom is to register to vote. How are the people in government supposed to know what freedoms to protect, which ones matter most to you, if you do not fight to protect them?