"It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error."

-- Robert H. Jackson

My wife and I are old-fashioned when election time rolls around. We still like to go to the poll to cast our ballots. It adds to the feeling that our votes do count!

Now that the 2012 election is history, I wouldn't be surprised if the winners are still reveling while the ones who ended up on the short end are trying to decide whether to salvage their campaign signs and run again.

As for the voters, I assume they've all gone back to doing what they were doing before the "Vote" signs began popping up all over town.

Although this year's voter response was much better than I expected, it's a shame we always fall far short of a 100 percent turnout at the polls.

If every eligible voter showed as much interest and enthusiasm for politics as they do -- say the Super Bowl or "Dancing With the Stars" -- we'd likely do a better job finding the right people to represent us while removing those who don't.

I was a junior in high school when I got my first taste of politics. I was asked to give a nomination speech on behalf of a classmate who was running for Student Body Commissioner.

I jumped at the opportunity before being told I'd be addressing the faculty and entire student body at an assembly. Having never spoken in front of a large audience, I wasn't sure I was the wisest choice. Not wishing to disappoint my friend, however, I spent weeks preparing my five-minute introductory speech until I could recite it in my sleep.

On the so-called day of reckoning, I stepped onto the stage and approached the dais beaming with confidence. After clearing my throat, I began my spiel which I'd practiced over and over again without a glitch.

As fortune would have it, nearing the climax of my presentation I lost my train of thought. Not a single sound could be heard throughout the auditorium. I looked about as if searching for the nearest exit when the words came back to me. And I ended up my presentation with an unspoken "Amen!"

In talking with my friends after the assembly, they all thought my pause was deliberately intended. I never let on to them what really happened. As the saying goes, I left it " ... all in the eyes of the beholder."

I enjoyed that short-lived experience despite the slip-up. But quite frankly, I have had no desire to run for public office.

As Americans, we have a lot to be thankful for. Anyone may choose to openly criticize our government and how the country is being run. It's one of their inalienable rights. And the nation's leaders will be among the first to admit our system is far from perfect.

But as Robert Jackson put it, it's "the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error." Each one of us has to do our part if we wish to keep our country safe and in the forefront for ourselves and future generations.

Just a few days ago we paid tribute to our men and women in uniform and in a week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving.

Whatever your belief, as you gather with your family and friends to celebrate this Thanksgiving, remember the leaders who were elected to govern our nation, the men and women in uniform stationed at home and abroad, those who lost loved ones in the service to our country, the homeless, the frail, and the countless volunteers who are striving to make this world a bit more beautiful for everyone.

And just in case you were wondering, my candidate lost.

Eizo Kobayashi is a Concord resident and a member of the Concord Senior Citizens Club. Contact him at columns@bayareanewsgroup.com.