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Harley Eckert earns Youth Tour honors

Harley EckertBurke-Divide Electric Cooperative has selected Harley Eckert as the winner of the cooperative’s Youth Tour essay contest and trip to Washington, D.C.  Harley will represent Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative on the all-expense-paid Youth Tour held in Washington, D.C., June 10-16.


Harley is a junior at Powers Lake High School and is the daughter of Douglas and Stephanie Eckert of Powers Lake.  Harley is involved in FFA, FBLA, SADD, Band, Choir, Volleyball, Pep Club, Speech, and her church’s youth group.  She has been on the Honor Roll, earned her FFA Greenhand and Chapter awards, has served as FFA Reporter of the Day at District Leadership, and has qualified at state in choir ensembles.  In her free time, Harley enjoys horseback riding, reading, music, stargazing, and rollerblading with my friends.


Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative is proud to have Harley representing the Cooperative on this year’s Youth Tour!


To earn this trip to Washington, D.C., Harley wrote an essay on the following topic:

“Democracy is the foundation of our American way of life and of cooperative enterprise.  The fundamentals of democracy include voter participation, political party affiliation and public debate of issues.  Describe what you think makes our current democracy strong and provide suggestions for ways our democracy can be made stronger and more effective.”

Here is Harley’s essay:

"When someone says democracy, many people think America.  However, democracy can be traced way back to Ancient Greece.  It means rule by mass and while that sounds all well and good, the Founding Fathers knew that there was a better way to govern than just people vying for the power.  They decided that the minority had a right to be heard so they put rule by law into place, better known as a republic.  The U.S. is a constitutional republic because the people elect representatives who will speak for their views.  Those representatives then vote on issues or in favor of the candidate that the people want.  This form of government evolved from democracy.  While it has advanced from that age, America and it's government has it's strengths and things that can be improved upon.


The U.S. government has many advantages over other countries.  One of them being the electoral college.  In the widespread election craze that happened this past year, there were many thoughts, emotions, and actions that were blazing the path for our future country.  People went to the extreme to support their candidate and anyone would agree that wrongs were said/done by both sides of the political spectrum.  However, everyone is free to share what they think, thanks to the first amendment.  It grants us freedom of speech and the liberty to share your political views.  These freedoms, among others like the freedom to bear arms, are protected by the electoral college.  The electoral college is one of the best things that America has.  Without it, the future of the entire country would be in the hands of a few major cities.  Due to the vast cultural differences between cities and rural areas, rule by popular vote would not be fair for the land mass of the country.  Issues like gun control and GMOs would not be accurately represented.  The electoral college helps to equally distribute governmental power among the states.  Another thing that makes America the best is our freedom.  Many countries are closely monitored and have intense laws that make it difficult to live there.  Whilst the U.S. has enough control to keep us in check, we are free to express political views, ethical standpoints, religion, etc. without persecution.  Americans pride themselves in living in the "land of the free".  Ultimately, the United States of America is great because of freedom and the electoral college.


Although America is a fantastic country, there are a few things we can improve upon to make our government more effective.  As a citizen, we have a responsibility to know what issues are being discussed and to be informed about them.  You can always be more educated and if you are planning on voting on a measure, make sure you have researched the topics and know the facts about both sides of the issue.  Once you are sure of your standpoint on the issue, make sure to actually call, e-mail, or write your representative so they will know what the people they represent think.  Another thing that needs to be improved upon is the number of Americans that actually vote.  Some people think that in the long run their vote does not matter, however this is not true.  Every vote counts towards the cause they want to represent and the amount of people not voting could change the end result.  The political parties are not fairly represented if not everyone in the country votes.  Obviously,  every government has it's issues, however if we work together we can overcome these issues and make America a better place.


All in all, America is a great country, but the government does have things that can be improved upon.  By being a republic, the entire land mass of the country gets representation instead of only the urban areas.  Everyone enjoys the freedom that's made possible by our government.  It would be more effective if the community engaged themselves in the election of officials and representatives.  A community divided in political parties and uncertainty is less active in political affairs.  Imagine how different this country would be if there were no political parties like George Washington had first envisioned."

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