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Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :

Vote

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry

In addition to your usual New Years resolutions to lose weight and exercise more, might I suggest another one that we all need to remember in the coming months.

Vote.

Yes, this is the year we have elections, starting for some folks in just a few days. All of us will get our chances before the end of the year and we need to make certain our voices are heard. I know we all get tired of hearing the candidates rant and rave about this issue or that but letís face it, if you and I donít take the time to look at the various issues and beliefs of the people trying to represent us, then what do we expect is going to happen after the elections are over?

We need to make certain we arenít choosing someone based strictly upon their gender, their race, their looks or their hair. It disturbs me when I hear about people voting for someone because they are Ďgood lookingí. What in Godís name does that have to do with it? Iíd rather have an ugly smart person living in the White House than I would one of the so called Ďbeautiful peopleí who is dumber than a brick.

The statistics arenít clear on how many people on our planet are denied the privilege of voting for their members of government. But you can bet it is a huge number. Think about what you read in the news about voter fraud, corruption, intimidation in various countries and you can begin to appreciate just how precious our voting rights are.

Yet, what is our current percentage of actual citizens going out to vote? Itís pathetic. In Iowa for this weeks coming primary, they are estimating that less than 10% of the qualified citizens will take the time and effort to go out to vote.

Iím here to tell you that that is a disgrace. I donít care if you are a Democrat, Republican or what you have a duty and an obligation to get out and exercise your constitutional right to elect your representatives.

Now, donít get me wrong, I am not saying this is easy, because it isnít. You and I have to get up from our recliners, turn off the boob tube and read and study what we can about the various candidates that we get to choose from. I donít necessarily subscribe to the belief that what a man or woman said in some speech twenty five years ago is relevant in todayís world. We all change and are capable of changing our minds on different subjects as we mature or obtain more information. I know I have and am pretty sure you have made some off the cuff remark on some subject you knew little about many years ago and then discovered you were wrong. No one should be crucified for something they misspoke years and years ago.

It happens to the best of us. We are only human.

No, I am more inclined to listen to what they are saying yesterday and today. I am looking for consistency in their views and if they are pandering to whatever audience they happen to be appearing in front of during the months leading up to the election. It takes time and effort to listen and concentrate on what the candidates are actually saying in their speeches. Are they addressing the issues that are confronting our nation or are they just speaking words that float over everyoneís heads?

The election of our officials is serious business. We need to tear ourselves away from our creature comforts to study and evaluate who is the best suited for whatever office is going to be vacant. We need to discuss these candidates with our friends, our family and those whose political views arenít always in line with our own. We need to listen to all sides and make rational decisions based upon what we hear and what we can prove is the truth.

The internet is a wonderful tool, but you cannot rely upon everything you get in an e-mail or that is sent to you from unknown sources. For everything good about someone you can find an equal amount of bad. It takes time and dedication to search for the truth and verify the sources that provided the information.

We live in a wonderful age with an inordinate amount of tools available to us that were only dreamed about twenty five years ago. I intend to use these tools wisely to help educate myself and learn about the issues and intentions of every candidate that I am being asked to vote for this year.

Remember what I have often said, ďpeople who donít vote deserve the people who get electedĒ.

© Peary Perry
Letters From North America

January 3, 2008 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com

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