Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles 10-29-12 | TheFencePost.com

Peggy Sanders: Confluence Chronicles 10-29-12

This tranquil scene highlighted by the flag blowing in the wind serves to remind us that our flag—and voting—represent freedom.

Are you a voter? More importantly, are you an informed voter? It has always amazed me when people do not exercise their right to vote and it is a very sad commentary when that right is not taken seriously. Thousands, millions even, around the world would give anything if they could vote in an honest-to-goodness free election.

Do you remember the first time you voted in a presidential election? I sure do. In 1972 I was a student living in Paris and I went through the process of obtaining an absentee ballot by mail. To cast the vote it was necessary to trek to the American Embassy with my absentee ballot in hand, vote, have it all notarized and the embassy sent it back to the states and eventually to Fall River County, S.D. These days we have soldiers stationed in up to 150 countries, if my internet research comes close. We tend to remind our citizens that troops have died defending our right to vote for years. It may be one thing we can do to honor those who are in the military in our own way.

Are you someone who complains about the government? Voting is a real way to express your complaints. If you don't vote, don't complain. Yes, your one vote does matter. Although unusual elections have been won by a margin of just one. A Utah state House race in 1980 ended with a count of 1,931 to 1,930. North Dakota had a similar event in a state Senate race during the 1978 election when the initial count showed 2,459 for the winner and second place was 2,458. After a recount the winner's total ended up to be six votes, still a tiny margin where voters would truly feel their votes made a difference.

When I was in grade school we had Y.C.L. (Young Citizens' League), a group conducted within the school where we learned citizenship, patriotism, the voting process as well as patriotic and historical songs. Annually all of the country schools in the county got together for the Music Festival and Y.C.L. was part of the festival. The organization existed in South Dakota and North Dakota yet I don't know if it was nationwide.

It was in grade school where we first learned about voting. At that point in our lives it was pretty much a popularity contest and as we matured we were able to discern that leadership, knowledge and enthusiasm to get the job done was more important than hairstyles, clothing or personality. Sometimes I wonder if we have regressed in the way we balance our criteria when we make our voting decisions.

Our families learn by watching us. When we deem something is important, it rubs off on them. Two of the outward signs of patriotism are showing respect for the flag and voting in local, state and national elections when the occasions arise. Please vote.

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Peggy can be contacted through http://www.PeggySanders.com. ❖