Ed­u­cate your­self, then vote

Rappahannock News - - BIZ BIO • COM­MENT - DR. ROBERT BURNEY Sper­ryville

In some coun­tries, peo­ple fight and die for the right to vote. In oth­ers, peo­ple wait hours to vote. With the right to vote comes an obli­ga­tion to be­come ed­u­cated on is­sues and can­di­dates. In these days of fake news, where do you go?

I once at­tended a me­dia fo­rum ad­dress­ing where Amer­i­cans should go for un­bi­ased news. Here is their ad­vice: Print: The Wash­ing­ton Post, New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune; Ra­dio: Na­tional Public Ra­dio (NPR); TV: Pro­longed si­lence. Noth­ing. The Wash­ing­ton Post, The New York Times, and NPR are all avail­able lo­cally.

Here’s a list of is­sues im­por­tant to me:

1. Econ­omy. Economists agree that tax cuts don’t work. Amer­i­cans don’t want lower taxes, we want ef­fec­tive gov­ern­ment.

2. Ed­u­ca­tion. Preschool ed­u­ca­tion should be part of manda­tory public ed­u­ca­tion and paid for by taxes.

3. Health­care. Health­care has be­come a right. You can't have life, lib­erty, and hap­pi­ness with­out it. The gov­ern­ment must pro­vide health­care for ev­ery­one. Most civ­i­lized coun­tries have a sin­gle payer health­care sys­tem. Cov­er­age is universal. For now, the ACA is the best al­ter­na­tive. Em­brace it.

4. En­ergy. Coal should be left in the ground. To­day, coal costs more than nat­u­ral gas, with­out con­sid­er­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal and health costs of min­ing and burn­ing coal. Petroleum and nat­u­ral gas are stepping stones along

the path to a re­new­able en­ergy econ­omy.

5. En­vi­ron­ment. Rachel Carson wrote “noth­ing is val­ued un­til it is al­most gone.” We’re there. The Paris ac­cord was a be­gin­ning. Global warm­ing is real and is caused by man. Fix it now or re­gret it forever.

Make your own list. Be­come in­formed by con­sult­ing the sources men­tioned above, and then vote. If you don’t vote, some­one else will, and you may not like the re­sult.

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