Well I've recently discussed relatives and religion and haven't received one comment. My momma told me that there were 3 things that were conversationally "off limits" to women with good
manners--religion, relatives and politics. I say "girls with good manners never have any fun."
In as much as I am decidedly opinionated I'm going to make a real effort to keep this as non-partisan as possible. What that means is that it will take me hours to write this because I will have to go back and edit and re-edit. So here's what I think.
Our nation has always been respected as a leader among nations, young as we are--236 years old. Really still in our infancy as nations go. We've been respected because we earned it! Respect is not automatic. We have earned that respect because we have been a nation who took care of it's own. We have made education a priority. It's there for anybody---girls as well as boys, the mentally and physically challenged, the young and the old. Nobody has been turned away! We have upheld every one's right to worship. Whether you agree with your neighbor or not you can attend or not the church of your choice. We have defended the right to bear arms and here's where I might get into a bit of trouble. I just want to say that nobody has lost their Grand Daddy's shotgun to the "govinmit!' In fact, the government doesn't want your Grand Daddy's shotgun, but there are many wise and thinking people who would like to remove assault weapons from the hands of 14 year olds. O.K. I'm finished with that! We also have the right to peaceful assembly. If not for this some our citizens would still be slaves. What an abomination that was! And were it not for that right to assemble, the Tea Party would never have gotten off the ground--no pun intended. Which leads into another treasured right--the right to speak on any topic at any time, as we see it. And though there are indeed limits as regards public safety; liable and slander, pretty much anyone can say, write as they please. There are no restrictions as to that persons intellectual abilities to do so or ability to pay in order to speak. We just can and do say what we think. (sometimes it's pretty evident that we also speak without the assumed prerequiste of thought.) Another reason we are so widely respected, as a nation, is that slow as the effort may have been we have given EVERYONE the right to vote. Not just white men who own property. Voting is another means of speaking our minds and everyone can do it. Yes, I know that there are certain groups of citizenry that thwart this effort for some minority groups and I say,"Shame on them." However, we hope that too will end. Are you noticing a trend here? Something about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness! Yep, for the above and so much more we have garnered the respect of the free world. I hope and pray we never lose it. Too many of our best and bravest have died in order for these "inalienable" rights to be placed in jeopardy.
So with all this said, I beseech you to become an informed voter. We owe it to ourselves, to our country and to those who died so we could continue to enjoy "the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness." Look at the big picture. Don't just grab onto a 10 second sound bite. Most of those are narrow in their scope and feed on our insecurities. Read and watch other news programs besides Fox News. Spend some of your computer time reading. So many of us vote against our own best interest because we hear something about a certain candidate and then close our minds to anything else that is said. As an educator, one of my goals was to teach my students the art of critical thinking--to gather information, analyse, compare, decide. If a 4th grader can do it, you can too.
Be an informed electorate and force our candidates to focus on the very real issues of the day---energy crisis, jobs, education, immigration, the financial institutions and the list goes on--instead of whose wife never worked or if one of them is a closet eater of french fries. And I know you want to blame the dang media but they focus on what their market will allow. Change that market! Change that dialogue!
Be a "Rosy the Riveter" of the new age and do your part to maintain America's respect around the world. Vote like your life depends on it!