Local view: The best way to honor veterans is cast a vote
Tuesday was Election Day 2014. Once again I made the minimal effort to go to the Beatty Town Hall to exercise my "right to vote." Actually, I fulfilled my solemn responsibility to vote.
Tuesday was Election Day 2014. Once again I made the minimal effort to go to the Beatty Town Hall to exercise my “right to vote.” Actually, I fulfilled my solemn responsibility to vote.
I vote not to honor the politicians who are running or to promote or prolong the power of one political party or the other.
I vote because for almost 240 years people have left the comfort of their homes and families to risk their lives to earn and then to preserve my ability to vote.
I vote because people marched barefoot in the snow from wretched winter living conditions in Valley Forge to attack the Hessian mercenary army in Trenton to earn my ability to control my destiny through participatory government.
I vote because people went to sea in wooden ships to combat the largest and most powerful navy in the world to preserve my ability to vote.
I vote because people died in unprecedented numbers in our own country to ensure that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the Earth.
I vote because people went to Europe to break the stalemate of horrible trench warfare to preserve our independence and end a wasteful world war.
I vote because people went to war around the world to break the onslaught of horrible dictatorships that committed atrocities against humankind on a scale unimaginable to make the world safe for democracy.
I vote because people fought in my name on frozen hilltops, in tropical jungles and in Middle Eastern deserts so I can vote.
I vote because of the sacrifices made by these people and their families in the service of the participatory democracy called the United States of America.
I vote because people struggled within our country for the right to vote and the right to participate.
I vote in spite of the political parties and the power system that has been allowed to grow and almost strangle the voices of the individual citizens of this country while consolidating political power in the hands of a few obscenely wealthy individuals.
I vote in spite of increasingly ridiculous and misleading campaigns that submerge erstwhile candidates in muck and the rest of us in the relentless nonsense of sound bites, fear-mongering, personal attacks and flawed or nonexistent reasoning.
Veterans Day on Tuesday closely follows Election Day in the United States. I propose that if you really want to honor all veterans (and you should), then you should make the large effort required to get informed and the small effort necessary to vote on every Election Day possible. And proudly wear your “I Voted” sticker on Veterans Day.
God Bless America and help us to deserve and preserve our blessings.
Bill Conger of Cook works in the mining industry and is a past member of the St. Louis County school district School Board.