Election

Signs outside polling place - surrounded with Small American flags. Precinct 42. Polls open 6:30 a.m. - Close 7:30 p.m.

Yesterday was Primary Election Day in West Virginia.

I joined my fellow citizens and cast my ballot.

Library, public transportation and parks & recreation levies were on the line in addition to choosing candidates from among the mix of local, state and federal offices to be filled.

Not everybody chose to show up at the polls.

One report pegs the unofficial voter turnout at a historically low 17%.

17%.

The other 83% apparently chose not to choose.

Or perhaps their choice was “whatever.”

I can’t fathom being so non-engaged with such important decisions.

Decisions that affect our everyday lives.

Yesterday was also a different kind of “election day” at our house.

Our son and I used the day to mark the importance of healthy choices.

We agreed that on this day we would “elect” to start being more intentional about making healthy choices.

We all make these choices each and every day.

Exercise – or don’t exercise?

Donut and Mountain Dew – or scrambled egg, toast and juice?

Bag of chips – or apple? Sign on refrigerator - says "yes, I am trying to eat healthy. no, i am not on a diet." Held up with magnet shaped like state of West Virginia that says I (heart) W.V.

Unlike political elections, this healthy-choice-election has 100% voter turnout.

Unless we are in a coma we each make a ton of choices a day.

And just like with political elections, each thing we “elect” to do has far-reaching consequences.

If we are apathetic and lackadaisical in our choices, we get poor results.

As with any election, preparation and participation are the keys.

Do your homework.

Think things through.

Show up and make your choices.

One good choice at a time.

It’s vital to be engaged with such important decisions.

Decisions that affect our everyday lives.

Hand on the left with voting sticker - American Flag - We the People of the United States - I Voted Today; Hand on the right with golden delicious apple

 

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People Power

American Flag

I love America.

Not in a “my-country-right-or-wrong” kind of way.

I love America because it is resilient.

I love America because we are a diverse people with a vast array of opinions, traditions and dreams.

I love America because we have a history of disagreeing and arguing and finger pointing and political-maneuvering that has – against all odds – ultimately resulted in a centuries-old tradition of peaceful transfers of power.

I love America despite its imperfections.

I always feel a swell of pride when watching an outgoing president from one political party shake hands and wish the incoming president of another political party well.

I watch as other nations struggle with this idea of a peaceful transfer of power.

I watch with a heavy heart as I see them fall victim to the politics of armed stand-offs.

The images from Syria, Ukraine and Egypt, for example, are heart-wrenching.

My love of America and this sympathy for struggling nations gives birth to a worrisome fear.

What if our string of peaceful transfers of power were to come to an end?

I watch as our political leaders honor party loyalty and special interests over pragmatism and the common good.

I watch as a growing number of candidates run for office with the stated worldview that our government IS the problem and with the goal of cutting it down or bringing it to a standstill.

They don’t just think the current leaders are the problem.

They think the very government itself is the problem.

But WE THE PEOPLE are the government.

WE THE PEOPLE must remain informed, engaged and involved in the government.

Not to tear it down.

Not in some effort to “protect” ourselves from ourselves.

But in the honorable pursuit of cooperation and action on behalf of the common good and in defense of our centuries-old tradition of peaceful transfers of power.

This is America.

Not Egypt or Ukraine.

We have the power.

It is the ballot box.

It is the balance of powers among three branches of government.

If the government IS the problem, it is because WE are the problem.

Do you love America?

Then participate.

Participate in a centuries-old tradition that has served us well.

If you won’t do it for yourself, how about for your kids and grandkids?

Or will they look back from the future of a crumbled America and see that it was our generation that betrayed the trust and killed the dream?