Be an informed voter

Since my shingle illness is finally subsiding, I decided to go get my flu shot. I figured that I didn’t want another health problem. While in town my son, Doug, and I did something else that was even more important; we voted.

Not long ago a friend asked me how I could sit watching TV all day? Right now in my spare room are 28 Afghans and 20 scarves all ready to be given as Christmas presents. My picture framer, Suzie, has finished, or in the process of, working on my huge assortment of crewel designs that Virginia at the Rising Sun Gallery next door is planning a special showing in December.

Apparently, I don’t sit all day and do nothing; these old hands keep busy.

Of course, the time comes to decide about my column, and with voting uppermost in my mind I’ve decided to write a series of articles about presidents, starting with the one currently in the White House. Considering that I’ve been voting since the days of FDR this should be most interesting because people don’t get elected to the presidency without help.

Our present office holder is no exception. When history is written there’s one well-known person — a billionaire who made his fortune in America but who’s not a natural born citizen — will be shown as the man who put Obama in office almost single handed. Well, not quite. Six years ago a group of hysterical celebrity admirers were so excited about the idea of Obama becoming our leader that they didn’t look for any qualifications.

There weren’t any, and now I can just hear some people coming out of the woodwork. Let’s see, did he ever hold an ordinary paying position? Please don’t count the short time he was a state senator; during which time he voted “present.” Did he ever own a business? No, he was a “ Community Organizer.” How in the world did he ever get nominated in the first place? Well I’ve already answered that question.

Now here we are, six years later. Let’s see if all of those promises he made have come to fruition. Is black unemployment in better shape than they back then? No, it’s worse. Is the economy in better shape than it was? Ask the middle class who has lost yearly income. However, we do have millions more now on food stamps. Is this progress we can be proud in? I think not.

What really bothers me — not that the economy and the problems that all of us, especially some minorities face — is that the entire world looks at us now with expressions seem to ask the question “what in the world just happened?” America’s allies who always looked to us, and respected us, for help in times of need, are now lost and shaking their heads in disbelief. Folks, my definition of leading from behind is following.

Do you ever watch those shows on TV that ask the “people on the street” questions? It scares the be-jeepers out of me that so many of our average citizens know next to nothing about our Constitution and don’t have a clue what is happening in this country, or the world. And these are the people who are going to vote soon and probably haven’t seen a news program since Seinfeld was still on TV.

I have an idea. How about everyone being required to watch MSNBC, CNN and FOX news shows every night for four hours from now until election time? Then they can vote. When somebody’s shown a picture of our vice president yet don’t know who he is, or are asked about current issues and don’t know what the interviewer is talking about, I want to cry. And when I look back six years ago, I’m especially disappointed.

I knew this man had few qualifications. However, I hoped for the best thinking he’d surprise us and do a fantastic job. I didn’t care that he was a Democrat; he was now our leader. I wanted him to succeed. He said he would “bring us together,” and have the most transparent administration in history. Next time, let’s follow MLK and judge on the content of someone’s character, making sure they’re qualified for the presidency.

More that anything, I hope you’ll take the time to become an informed voter.

Regardless of whether we agree or not, voting is a sacred duty that, just like a large family, needs tender loving consideration and care.

Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at


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