Why your vote for President matters this year

By Jim Irvine

On November 6, 2012 Americans will go to the polls to vote for the next President of the United States of America. Either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will win this contest.

It has become cliché, but this really is the most important election in our lifetime.

In the last few years, gun owners have celebrated two of the most important Second Amendment rulings the in our nation’s history. Heller v D.C. and McDonald v City of Chicago have set the stage for national reciprocity and the elimination of discriminatory "may issue" concealed carry laws. But we can lose it all and more in the blink of an eye.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy, both Reagan appointees are 76 years old. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 79. Stephen Breyer is 74.Clarence Thomas is 64 and Samuel Alito is 62. Losing one vote in a 5-4 ruling means losing your rights. The next President will almost surely appoint one or more justices. Obama's appointments Sotomayor and Kagan are openly hostile toward your rights, which are hanging by a single vote.

The last time our nation faces such a "generational election" was 32 years ago. In 1980 we had high fuel prices, economic uncertainty, dashed hopes for the future and problems in the middle east, including assaults on our embassies (which are American soil) where American’s died. Sound familiar?

We would decide to continue with the failed policies, weak leadership and appeasement foreign policy of President Jimmy Carter, or the bold, strong, "America is special" vision of Ronald Reagan. We chose Reagan, returned America to greatness, ended the cold war, and ushered in a period of prosperity that lasted nearly 30 years.

Other elections that set the course of our nation not just for years, but for decades, were the election of Dwight Eisenhower after WWII, and Abraham Lincoln. This year is another such vital election for our country.

While there are other candidates on the ballot, they cannot and will not win. Either Romney or Obama will win this election. A vote for anyone else is throwing your vote away.

I have voted for third party candidates. I have voted in primaries for candidates that have already dropped out of the race. I understand voting for the "best" candidate rather than one the big parties are pushing. There are times this is a great idea. But now is not that time.

Votes for Ross Perot enabled Bill Clinton to defeat George H.W. Bush in 1992. Votes for Ralph Nader enabled George W. Bush to defeat Al Gore in 2000. This year's election is too critical to help the worst candidate win because you think the other candidate is "not good enough." Failure to vote, or voting for other candidates, will result in supporting the wrong candidate.

Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life. This election will shape your firearms rights not just for a few years, but most likely for the next 20-30 years, and possibly longer. Cast your vote like your rights depend on it, because they do.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman, and winner of the NRA-ILA's 2011 "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award."

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