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I am sure that most people reading items on this web site realize how important this next election will be. I will not use this forum, or any other, to tell you how to vote. Voting is, to me, the essence of our freedom. For me or any other person to tell you how to vote would be an abuse of your God given right to be a free person. I will use this forum to state my reasons as to why I feel voting is so important, why apathy has encouraged politicians, once elected, to use the system for their own purposes and why I feel that the outcome of this election could very well alter the course of this nation, so much, that it will never again be what the founding fathers envisioned it would be.
Think back to elections of the past twenty or so years. How many times have we heard on the news in the days following that election that a low percentage of registered voters had turned out to vote. Normally it seems that it is between thirty-five and forty percent. As I said we are talking about percentage of registered voters. How much of the total population eligible to vote do you think is registered? The few unscientific polls that I have done lead me to believe that the percentage of eligible voters who are registered may be as low as thirty percent. I am sure those in power know the exact number. Just for the sake of argument lets say my figures are correct. If we assume that forty percent of registered voters vote in an election and that only thirty percent of the eligible population is registered then that would mean that twelve percent of the eligible population voted. What kind of a message do you suppose that sends to those elected? If I was an elected official I would think that eighty-eight percent of my constituents could care less about what I was doing and I would do anything I damned well pleased. Along this same line another item for thought. How many of you reading this can honestly say they try to follow what is going on in Congress? How many of you can say that they have written their representative or senator about an issue that he is about to vote on? Think about all those news stories on pork barrel projects being done all over the country costing taxpayers billions of dollars and serving no purpose but to try and get the incumbent re-elected. Just recently there was a story of a parking garage in Vermont that cost millions and was not only not needed, but is standing almost unused. Why do you suppose these projects get through Congress? I would bet it's because the elected officials know that they can get away with this because so few of us make them account for their actions. How do we hold them accountable? We write them, we email them, we catch them at appearances and ask them why they voted for that project, bill, etc. If we feel we aren't getting the answers we want, then next election we show our displeasure and vote them out. If we as constituents continue to be apathetic, they as elected officials will do just as they please whether it is in our best interests or not. While voting gives us a freedom that few other countries bestow on their citizens, there is an obligation that comes with that privilege. That obligation is to take an active interest in the governing of our nation. That is why our nation is unique and why we are freedom loving people. APATHY will be the death of this great nation. Constant vigil will guarantee the gift of freedom for our children and all the generations to follow.
Just about every day at work I hear someone complaining about some thing or other that the local, state, or federal government has or is doing. If the person is talking to me the first question I ask is if that person voted in the last election. If the answer is no, then I tell the person that he/she really doesn't have a complaint. If the answer is yes, I ask if they have contacted the elected official that they should address their concerns to. I find most people have no idea about how to contact their elected officials. I try to keep that information handy so I can help them to make contact. Many of you are saying by now, I vote, I write my elected officials, I watch what is going on in government at all levels, what more can I do. I would ask you to join me in a project I started during the 1996 election. Before the election I found ten people that I work with that were not registered and had never voted before. I got these ten people to register and to vote in the 1996 election. Two of them felt so good about it that they have become congressional watchdogs. All ten really felt good about voting for the first time and during campaign 2000 they have each pledged to get ten unregistered people to register and vote. For each of you who read these words I issue the same challenge. Get ten non voters to vote in the 2000 election. My personal goal is twenty new voters. I don't tell them who to vote for, but I am willing to discuss my personal views if asked. I try to stay informed on current issues, but if some thing comes up that I am not familiar with I don't discuss it until I get some information on the subject. The main point I try to get across is that the privilege of voting is something very special, and also is the responsibility of each and every one of us. The power of the vote is the power to rule ourselves.
The current occupant of the White House, in my opinion, is a total disgrace to the office. I will not debate his terms in office, except to state that it has led to leaving us with a president who very few believe what he has to say. I know that all administrations have their detractors and media mud slinging, but never can I remember an administration beset with so many accusations not only of the president, but his wife and his cabinet members. How many cabinet members have resigned? Personally I have lost count. The scandals just seem to keep coming up Whitewater, Paula Jones, Monica, Travelgate, etc. The one that concerns me the most is Waco. The investigation is still ongoing on that one so I'll reserve my comments, except one. For those of you who do not think that your government would kill it's own citizens, think again. I for one have no doubts. The Justice Department has a dismal record when it comes to prosecuting criminals who illegally possess firearms or try to obtain them. There is a constant call for more gun control, while laws already on the books are ignored and not enforced. There are a few areas of the country where saner heads have prevailed and federal laws concerning criminals with firearms are being enforced. In these areas the crime rates has drastically fallen. I won't rehash the studies and statistics. Most are available on this site and others like it. The purpose of this administration and it's supporters is not to reduce crime through gun control. It is to remove guns from the hands of law abiding citizens. Can I prove this? I think by asking one question that I can. If tomorrow all guns would be required by law to be turned in, would criminals line up to turn theirs in? If criminals now possess illegal guns why would that change.
The next election will be critical to the future of this nation because if an administration much like the current one is elected, I believe the first focus will be the loss of our Second Amendment right. There are many opinions about this amendment, but after doing a lot of reading I believe the founding fathers wrote this amendment so that we would have a means to keep our federal government honest. It is my personal belief that there are those in and around government that have extreme socialist leanings. These people seem to think that they know what's best for us common folk and with their guidance the government should control us from birth to death. Can this happen? Not to an armed population of free men and women. Once the population of this country is unarmed those in power are free to do as they wish to limit the rights of all of us. We will be forced to stand by as one at a time our rights are taken from us. That is my fear of those who wish impose gun control on the rest of us. There is no way you can convince me that gun control is to get guns out of the hands of criminals. There are to many studies that show gun control does not reduce criminal activity, but in most cases serves to increase it. Those of you who support gun control, who may read this, I urge you to read the studies with an open mind and then really think about if gun control is about crime and criminals or is it about restricting our freedoms.
This coming election must return to government those who would support the Constitution of this nation. We must as citizens not only exercise our right to vote, but support those candidates who will return constitutional values to this nation. For some of us that might mean only talking to friends and co-workers. For others it may mean getting active in local campaigns. It doesn't matter what your level of involvement is as long as you are involved. At least be involved enough to be informed of the issues and vote.
We have a choice, to bequeath to future generations a nation of free people governing themselves through their elected officials or a nation of sheep being herded through life by a small group of the elite. It is your choice what kind of legacy you want to leave to your children. If you have read both sides of the issue with an open mind and still feel that the way to go is to support those people who would erode our freedoms, then I support your choice. That is the meaning of a free society. I don't have to agree with you but I owe you the defense of your opinion. However you feel, the important thing is that you get out and VOTE.

Submitted by David Grayhawk