VOICE OF DEMOCRACY SCHOLARSHIP ESSAY CONTEST 2021 - 2022 Winner Emilly Marciszewski,
10th grader, Saline High School
Theme - Where do we go from here?
Emily Marciszewski Saline High School, 11th Grade
"Where do we go from here?” In some form, this question rests in the mind of every American, concerned with the future of their country. Especially considering the recent tragic events that have pushed their way through our country, affecting millions, many are left questioning what America should do from this point on. How should our leaders, combined with the help of the people, fix the shattered pieces of a nation and reestablish the founding principles of this country? The answer to this question is ironically simple: to move forward, America must return to its innermost foundations. Although there are plenty of alternatives, and nothing is guaranteed to be successful, looking back to the foundational concepts that this nation was built on and learning from past mistakes is the best way to move forward.
When deciding the future path of America, the future of the government itself is an increasingly important factor. After the Revolutionary War, the founding fathers of this country specifically sought to build a nation based on one simple ideal: that there would be equal power between the people and those elected to governmental power. Essentially, they established a government created for the people and by the people. The founding fathers put strong emphasis on ensuring that those in power could not become overpowered, by instituting the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and a series checks and balances, as well as a bicameral representational system. The American people and government officials of today must respect this emphasis, as well as stay consistent with it. After all, the country was created to depend on the people’s ultimate decision, not just the decisions of those burdened with higher power, in order to maintain life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Thus, "We the People,” must hold our representatives accountable for their actions and enforce the balance of power between those who govern and the governed. Recent events have shown that as we drift further away from the times of the founding fathers, we must work harder to produce fairness during terms in office and during elections. Especially recently, there have been many rising debates about our system of election. With the growing concerns over the fairness during the 2020 presidential election, many are left wondering if this country still belongs to the people’s choice. It sparked the possibility of potentially unreliable election results, which obviously deduct from the aspect of a people-run government. For the future, we should focus on enforcing a fair, safe, reliable, and honest election, restoring a fraction of the crucial expression of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The history of America is possibly one of the most important in the world, causing huge ripples throughout the world and affecting a large number of other nations. Most importantly, the history and experiences of those who founded this nation impacted the entirety of the ideals that this nation was built on. A majority of the freedoms and liberties that the people in America have access to, were a result of early United States history. Freedoms of speech, religion, and press, along with the right to bare arms, were all a direct result of the period in history when Britain controlled the American colonies. Although it happened centuries ago, our history continues to impact our system of government and our liberties. For this reason, it is immensely important for Americans to know their history, and why America is the country it is today. Unfortunately, they aren’t as informed as they should be. For example, about 53% of Americans do not know that the first 10 amendments to the Constitution of the United States are called 2 the "Bill of Rights." Additionally, a sizable minority of about 42% of Americans do not even know the title of the national anthem. These are crucial pieces of information, and yet, millions of Americans do not know them. For this reason, as America moves forward, it should ensure that young Americans, the future of this country, have access to high levels of education. We must not erase our history, even the dark parts of it. Not only did it provide us with many of the freedoms we enjoy today, freedoms that other countries deprive their citizens of, but it also allows us to have an opportunity to learn from them, therefore providing this nation with a brighter future. Crucial pieces of history are often glazed over, or even entirely left out in the educational system. Knowing the entirety of America’s history will not only allow students to have a better understanding of how this country works and the foundations it was built on, but also encourage them to uphold the most important aspects of America. Furthermore, as we move forward, we must look back at our history, and ensure that it lives on for future generations, because the only way we are going to be able to fix this divided nation is by knowing our past mistakes, and ensuring that such things will never occur again.
Ironically, the answer to the question "Where do we go from here?” is to look to the past. We must focus on government and our history for a stronger and brighter future. Although other issues are crucial in this decision, these two factors are critical in the foundation of liberty.
2nd. place - Anthony Varkey - Huron High School, 11th Grade, $500
3rd. place - Madelyn Corgan - Dexter High School, 9th Grade, $300
Voice of Democracy Chairman
Graf-O'Hara VFW Post 423
3230 S. Wagner Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48108