Ann Bednarski: Sixty days of reflections
The last two months have been jam-packed with many events, some emotional and tragic, some about important issues and topics whirling around us. It has been challenging and difficult to decide what to do, how to do it and align our priorities accordingly.We had a long, laborious campaign season, three presidential debates, one vice-presidential debate, both Democratic and Republican national conventions. We were stunned by a tragic, horrific terrorist attack in Benghazi in which four American lives, including a very dedicated ambassador, were sacrificed defending the American people. That event caused many to pay more attention to how and who leads this country.Additionally it was an effort to know the local issues in Carson City, and candidates vying for positions on the School Board, Board of Supervisors, and both Senate and House races. Beside political contests and pivotal ballot questions, the World Series, another heated contest, ended in a sweep. We have become quite a divided country, losing sight of our freedoms and rights; our contests changed from assertions to aggressions, demanding an informed electorate. The Nevada Day Parade was spectacular where the theme, “Honoring Our Military & Families — Past, Present and Future” threaded together in one very cohesive celebration of Nevada’s 148th Birthday. For one day we all came together. It was a most welcome respite, just great. At Mills Park the Traveling Memorial Vietnam Wall brought Carson City an opportunity to honor those who gave their lives in Vietnam. Adjacent to the Wall was the carnival — strange bedfellows perhaps but a reminder of our American spirit, alive and well. The smells of food and sounds of music permeated the air throughout our wonderful city. Then, with ample warning, came Hurricane Sandy. Nature spoke in a loud, destructive voice. For millions of people, normal living stopped. Everyone, whether in her path or not, had an opportunity to reflect. Water from the sky and the sea was unstoppable. A fierce, angry wind was unrelenting. History was made as massive destruction occurred across several states. We looked on with disbelief. Sandy brought a strong message in her wide path of devastation.What did we do? We came together to help each other. We paid attention to Mother Nature’s severe warning. We are not ready to give up the things and history we have spent so long creating. America will survive, better, stronger and more committed to excellence.Meanwhile…For entirely too long, the politics of America have infested our airways, newspapers and television. I favor a much shorter political season. We should use nature as a guide, three months of each season and each political campaign is plenty of time. Inundating all modes of information with savage, cruel, inaccurate meanness to persuade voters does not promote a positive attitude toward our glorious Republic, especially considering how many millions were spent on those words, those slanted, inaccurate words. For years I have believed the manual for politicians is called, How to Lie with Statistics. We the people have to clean up the way we operate.Ten or 12 political phone calls a day is really an invasion of privacy. It only makes us more suspect of what’s really going on in Washington and affirms little substantive action, but lots of busy work, committees, meetings, hearings, fraud and waste. We definitely need serious improvement and efficiency in the way we, the people, run our country.The sad thing about this national election is many people are not informed and have lost interest in the entire process. Perhaps the presidential/vice-presidential debates provided the most valuable assessment of the two competing for the office of the president. Consider all the messages and ads; pepper them with one disgusting discovery after another of serious misuse of tax dollars; factor in threats of still higher taxes and continued high unemployment; add the foreboding “cliff” of debt accrued and the fear of terrorism. Each one of us has a voice in the system and each of us is important. Get informed and get involved.We have a civic obligation to exercise the right and privilege of voting on Tuesday. It is one of our most important responsibilities as citizens of this country. We have deviated a lot from what our founding fathers had in mind when they carefully crafted our Declaration of Independence and our long-standing Constitution. It is the responsibility of all Americans to do their best to get our country repaired, replenished and restored to a vibrant, flourishing economy.• Ann Bednarski of Carson City is a career educator and journalist.