The following editorial is attributed to Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka:
Congratulations to the Class of 2017!
As a high school government teacher for the past 40 years, I would like to give a word of advice to all graduates: VOTE.
There are elections every year. Mark your calendars: August 1, 2017, is Primary Election Day and November 7, 2017, is General Election Day. On the ballot will be local races for city council and local school boards.
Next year, all U.S. House, Kansas House, Governor, and other statewide offices are on the ballot. The Primary Election is August 7, 2018, and the General Election is November 6, 2018.
You may think that your one vote doesn’t count, but it does. You have the ability to determine the path your city, your county, your state, and even your country takes.
Let us never forget that many of the world’s great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the dreams and work of a single person.
Thomas Jefferson proclaimed that all men are created equal. Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized the first event of the women’s rights movement, the Seneca Falls Convention. Rosa Parks refused to take her seat in the back of the bus.
Don’t be afraid to get involved, and don’t be afraid of rocking the boat. Moral courage is a rarer characteristic of the human experience than bravery in battle or great intelligence.
It is moral courage that led to the organized labor movement of the 1930s and 40s, and to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s.
You have bright futures ahead of you. If you don’t like the way things are, work to change them. This starts by registering to vote and then voting.