With the daily onslaught of bitter political advertising and candidate stumping we've been enduring this election season, there's one one bit of information does ring true. Candidates and political pundits are calling it the most important mid-term election in history and with the number of tight races, EVERY vote WILL count.

Commentators that call this a referendum on President Obama's policies in his first two years in office are also correct. The course he has chosen for the country – on social issues, the economy or foreign affairs – is an open book for voters to assess before grading his agenda at the voting booth.

If voters still need to draw on the inspiration of some of our greatest Americans on the election process, here are a handful:

Samuel Adams (no, not the beer) was an American statesman, political philosopher, and one of the Founding Fathers of our country. He had this to says about the American citizen and the voting process:

"Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country."

James Garfield, the 20th President of the United States, said this about the importance of electing a sound congress:

"Now more than ever the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature ... If the next centennial does not find us a great nation ... it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces."

Daniel Webster, the 21st-century politician, on passing on the importance of voting to our children:

"Impress upon children the truth that the exercise of the elective franchise is a social duty of as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform; that a man may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every elector is a trustee as well for others as himself and that every measure he supports has an important bearing on the interests of others as well as on his own."

And finally, Pennsylvania's own early champion of democracy and religious freedom, William Penn, had this to say about what government means :

"Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men give them; and as governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined too. Wherefore governments rather depend upon men than men upon governments."

By Jim Zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com