When voting, remember that we’ve succeeded when working together
I voted today. I commend the local election board for the fine non-partisan manner in which the early voting took place at the [La Plata] fire station. I was also proud of the civil way my fellow citizens quietly lined up to patiently wait to exercise their rights. I hope everyone gets out to vote this election.
I am very comfortable with my vote, especially at the national level. I have watched the candidates closely for many months, examined their records, listened to what they and their supporters have said. I watched all the debates and listened or read to hours of commentary, some of which actually was informative.
I am retired. I worked hard and achieved some measure of success. I raised a family here in Charles County. I have been pleasantly surprised by how this county has evolved over the past several decades. A triple-A bond rating, while seeing steady improvements in the county’s infrastructure? Wow. I don’t like taxes much more than the next person, but I do like seeing the police cruisers around, good roads, well-maintained parks and other public amenities in a community with generally decent and improving schools. I also am comfortable with the sound and sight of Air Force jets going to Joint Base Andrews and Navy planes to Pax River Naval Air Station.
I just don’t see the nation in crisis the way some do. I have traveled extensively during my career, and I see mostly good things and good people around the country. We’ve gone through some troubling economic times a few years ago, but we’ve seen steady but slow improvement. More people are working, more people have health insurance, wages for ordinary workers are rising, and most people — around here, at least — just want to get along and get on with their lives. I don’t see the hatred, the divisiveness that fills the headlines. Oh, I know it is there, all right, but my world, thank God, is pretty good.
I do not trust the mainstream media to determine my choice for me. They are too busy chasing the latest shiny thing to give us much understanding of what is really going on. Most of the media are just parts of giant corpora- tions, interested in generating profits rather than truth. They focus on the negative, except when it comes to generating advertising dollars to get us to buy the latest things we do not really need. They are the voice of the consumer culture, envy, greed and the worship of things.
I don’t trust the political preachers either. The good Lord is the father and creator of us all and is decidedly non-partisan. He is above party and above nations. His way is humble compassion and service to the less fortunate. His way is love and forgiveness to individuals who seek Him and are willing to serve Him by serving others. Religion is not about political power or hatred of others, and it is certainly not about wealth. The political preachers are driving people from the church and away from God, and are wrecking this nation.
I still trust most of the people in government. They are my neighbors and my friends. I was one for almost 40 years. I saw how they work. I’ve worked with good politicians from both parties who were honestly concerned about their constituents and the nation. I have seen more than a few of the other types as well, those who were captured by ego, self-interest and narrow-minded devotion to corporate masters or rigid ideologies. Still, most of the time, things eventually got done more or less the right way.
So, when you vote, think about our heritage as Americans. We are unique because we have continuously tried to extend freedom and liberty to all, not just those originally qualified in our founding documents. We are unique because we have tried to value diversity, and have drawn strength from our differences. We’ve been better when we tried to live our religion rather than forcing it on somebody else. We’ve had some spectacular failures, but we are still working on it. We have succeeded when we have worked together (“E Pluribus Unum”).
We can make progress only when we behave respectfully and when we respect others. One nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.