Monday, May 24, 2010

Voting Matters

Over a year ago, many Americans who had been quietly concerned about the direction our country was taking started talking to each other, and felt emboldened.  They started to think that collectively they could make a difference.  They wanted to be heard.  So they got together and made signs.  They hadn't done this before, so their first efforts were a little shaky.  They used magic markers on poster board stapled to sticks with simple messages like  "Stop Spending".  Then they went and stood on street corners with those signs, feeling a little sheepish and out of place.  But then a strange thing happened.  They saw their neighbors, and people from church, and the guy from the grocery store, and they talked and laughed and felt part of something good, something maybe even important.

We've come a long way since then.  We have organized into more formal groups.  We have been ridiculed and dismissed, and then finally accepted and even feared.  We have become a force which cannot be ignored.  We have swayed elections.  We have made personal decisions about our principles values and what we are willing and compelled to do to stay true to those values.  We have learned that bullies and tyrants won't stop us from standing up for the America we know and love.

We also know that just standing on the street corner once or twice a year is not enough.  We must do more.  We must become informed.  We must be active in the political process, which is more than going to the polls and marking all the boxes with R next to it.  We are guided by principles and values, not by any political party or candidate.

On June 8, there will be an election in Montana.  There is only one national office at stake, and most of the ballot will consist of local and state races.  In normal times this kind of election has a low turnout.  People aren't that interested and trust things will turn out all right and things will go along as they always have.  These are not normal times and if we have learned anything at all it should be that things do not always turn out all right, that every vote counts, and that elections have consequences.   I urge you to vote.  Moreover, I urge you to be an informed voter.  If you don't know anything about a candidate or what he or she stands for, you should not check the box.  Learn as much as you can.  You can start by going to the Ravalli Republic at the link on the right side of this blog.  Look for candidate forums to attend.  Contact the candidates and ask them questions about issues that matter to you.

June 8 is another chance to show candidates and elected officials that we have not gone back to our recliners and given up.  Show you care.  Make a difference.  Vote. 

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