Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 20, 1999

ANNA MONICA / L’Observateur / October 20, 1999

This coming Saturday, Oct. 23, I will be a very important person. I am avoter. There is no voter more important than I. One person, one vote, thelaw says.

Politics has a bad name. Sometimes people spit out the word in disgust.Overall, that negative attitude has been justified when we have been disappointed, such as what is going on in some state elections now.

Accusations are bad, anyhow, but if they are made falsely and damage someone’s reputation unfairly, that is worse and all of it gives “politics” a really bad name.

I really had another subject I wanted to write about this week before realizing it was the week to vote. What I want to talk about is not”politics,” but about choosing our leaders. We humans have made itnecessary that we be governed and controlled by laws. Therefore, we needto be led by the right people who are willing to do the most good for the most people. Then, we need to be very aware of who our candidates are andhow suitable they are for the office they seek.

Unfortunately, in this country it has just about come down to a matter of who can raise the most money to run for political office. Then, too, thereis suspicion about people who spend a whole lot more money getting elected than the job pays. The public doesn’t exactly have its eyes closed,but apathy does exist. As long as we do not believe we are personallyaffected, we tend to let things slide. We are, though, all affected in someway.

There are probably more good, educated and capable people out there who would make excellent leaders but who are overwhelmed by the money needed and the “politics.” We need the best we can get in every position.We can only accomplish this by reading, observing and finding out everything we can about the candidates seeking office. Forums where thepeople could get their answers are really good. I’m for anything that limitsthe spending of money yet tells the voters what they need to know.

I am very patriotic, so when I hear the question of “why would anyone want to run for office and put up with all that,” I have an answer. We needgood men and women to govern our society, and if we believe there is corruption or self-interest in government, we must support those who want to do the right thing. Good must always try to overcome evil if evilis evident. The welfare of our country depends upon it and begins at thelocal level and moves up.

We all have our gripes, but our country is still the best there is. We needto be diligent in keeping it that way and not be brought down internally.

We need to be thankful and support the good men and women out there who believe they can make a difference and are willing to take that risk.

Let me tell you why I feel so strongly about good leadership. I have neverbeen forced from my home to march toward a refugee camp; I have never had to look to my left and right to see my brothers and sisters and their children marching also, with barely any belongings and not be able to help them. I have never had to see the young women in my family forced intobondage for sexual pleasure of conquerors as in World War II or in any recent wars like that in South Africa or Yugoslavia. I also have not had tosee my own people, like the women in Vietnam or Cambodia, riding in back of wagons while fleeing their homes and being so weary that their babies slipped from their laps into the mud. I want to keep it that way!In his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Dr. Victor Frankl talks about theconcentration camp for Jews he was in during the war. A fellow prisonerhad been a leading company executive before the Nazis captured him. In thecamp, the men were marched out to stand at attention in the snow outside at any hour of the night. One night, the once powerful executive lookeddown at his bare feet, and, realizing he had to stand in the snow like that, bowed his head and wept. That’s dramatic, I know, but if our country isn’tstrongly and rightfully led, the mightiest to the most lowly will suffer the same consequences in bad times.

The good news is that Americans rise up strong when threatened. Duringthe Iranian abductions and the Gulf war, our people really came together.

American flags were everywhere. We still have the best and we need tokeep it and make it even better. We need to vote. On Saturday, all weimportant people need to get out and do the best we can. Don’t leave thedecisions up to the next person. Vote for the people you truly believe inand for our future. It begins here, with you and me.

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