By BOB BILLETER
Being a Good Citizen Isn't Easy
The election is only a couple of weeks away. I don't know about you but I'll be glad when it's over. I can understand why so many people are turned off by politics. Year after year we hear the same old rhetoric, the same old promises.
It amazes me how little many people know about the races. The other day I watched a reporter on one of the TV channels interview people on the street about the election. Many of these people didn't know the first thing about the races. They didn't even know elementary things about our political system. This is scandalous. It is also scandalous to see the percentages of people who vote and realize that most Americans don't even bother to go to the polls in our elections.
I understand why people are turned off by elections. But they shouldn't be. Elections are vitally important. Without them we obviously would be living in a dictatorship. God forbid. It is a citizen's responsibility to read about the candidates and what they stand for and the vision they have. Politics is disgusting. I understand. Nevertheless it is too important a factor in our lives for us to give it short shrift.
Here is an example of one of the disgusting things that happen in many elections. The political leaders learn something scandalous about a candidate on the other side and they hold this information until ten days or two weeks before the election and reveal it. Why do they do this? Because if they wait until 10 days before the election with this negative news their opposing candidate will not have adequate opportunity to answer the charge. Isn't that disgusting.
If some of the accusations in the charges are false the public doesn't get the truth until after the voting is over. How outrageous. But such tactics are used time and time again. I certainly can understand how so many citizens get so disgusted by politics that they stay away from the polls. But they shouldn't do it. They should vote.
If the most honest and upright person in the country ran for office on a state or national ticket he would be called dirty names and his character would be blackened. This is so obvious. Isn't this a sad commentary on politics? It shouldn't be this way, but it is and we have to make the best of it.
Why are people so nasty about politics. Too many people support the candidates who are backing the things these people believe will help them. That is the wrong way to look at it. People should support the candidate who they believe is going to do the best job for our country. Not for them as individuals but our country.
This is easy for me to say and very difficult for most of us to do. We want things better for us. And we don't seem to realize that if things get better for us but worse for the country that we probably lose in the long run. If our country suffers, we suffer.
Nevertheless, I am convinced that year after year millions of people — maybe most of us — go to the polls and vote for what we think will benefit us the most and we ignore what is best for the nation. Logic and reason is ignored. People vote along racial lines, religious lines, party lines and many other lines. They should vote along American lines.
Very few things will be of much value to us if we have no country.
I know, all this advice is easy to give and difficult to take. It's a complicated world and a thousand things can rush through our brain before we vote. But we should put our country before ourselves. If the great majority of us did this our society would be a fantastic place.
I know, it's easy to give advice and difficult to take. It is even difficult for me to take this advice. But it is important to try to put our country first — to rise above petty party issues and be Americans first and members of a political party second. It's tough to do, but it's important that we try.