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Reader urges residents to vote only if they understand issues

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Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012 4:30 am

To the Editor:

Against all doctrine, I am asking people not to vote.

That’s right, don’t cast your ignorant, uninformed vote for either party champion unless you know the issues, and understand the ramifications of foolhardy decisions.

We as a country cannot suffer much longer with leaders who are themselves mystified about outcomes of ill-conceived foreign policies and wanton spending.

Granted, there are some who benefit in the short term from these reckless endeavors, but leading and managing a country is about the long-term outcomes.

This is not a popularity or beauty contest, or even a “he looks like me” decision; it is literally life, death and well being for future generations at stake.

Too often, I have witnessed street interviews with mostly younger voters who didn’t have a clue about what is at risk or what would be placed in jeopardy if the wrong person were elected.

That person, or persons, in whom you temporarily trust with your very life, and the well being of your fellow citizens deserves your informed support, not simple reflexive response.

When the voting age was established as 18 by the Congress and signed by President Nixon on July 5, 1971, I was happy for my fellow soldiers with me in Vietnam who were now old enough to serve in combat, and at last old enough to vote.

My joy was tempered by questions some had about who they should vote for, or even what’s the difference between a Democrat and a Republican.

I had to admit something very important to them, that I fear exists to this day; I didn’t know.

I advised them not to risk their vote unless they knew what they were for voting for.

That day, I developed a strong desire to have only qualified and informed voters help me decide my future.

Don Fender

Killeen

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Welcome to the discussion.

5 comments:

  • Eliza posted at 11:42 pm on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    Eliza Posts: 824


    If I'm understanding one of the previous commenters correctly,I think he may be mistaken about the Farm Bill he talked of and Cong. Carter.
    The below news sheet from Carters office dated 03/28/12, shows his concern for our farmers and their right to continue to grow our supply of food without interruption from the gov.

    The only abuse I can remember recently done to our food growing farmers , was done by an enviromental agency representing the present gov,, when the growing valleys of California,which grew 85 % of our countrys food supply, was shut down a couple of years ago.
    The excuse being, to save a 2" fish which was suppose to have been endangered.The water supply for the crops was cut off, the entire valley dried up.
    That act did damage not only to the countrys food supply but took jobs away from many who either owned the farms,some for years or those who worked them.

    ------

    Carter Fights to Protect Texas Farms and Ranches from New Federal Regs
    03/28/12

    (WASHINGTON, DC) – America’s family farms would be protected from intrusive new federal regulations barring youth from working on their own farm under legislation now co-sponsored by Congressman John Carter (R-TX31). Carter has joined with Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) in pushing for passage of H.R. 4157, Preserving America’s Family Farms Act. The bill would bar the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing any regulation that would prohibit youth from working on farms owned by their families by restricting finalization of new rules the department proposed in September 2011.

    “American farm families since our founding have worked together to produce their living and our nation’s food,” says Carter. “It is a cultural and economic tradition by which mankind has survived throughout world history. But now we have a bunch of pencil-pushers in Washington, D.C. offices who have decided they know better than our Texas farmers and ranchers how to work their land, and whether to allow the kids to do jobs that youth have performed for generations. This madness has to stop.”

    Family farms have been exempt from child labor rules for family members in the past, but are now threatened by the DOL proposal that would remove that exemption for farms partly owned by extended family members such as grandparents, aunts and uncles. The DOL proposal would also kill farm education programs that allow students to learn how to safely operate farm equipment, including driving tractors. The proposed elimination of these certification programs has drawn opposition from Future Farmers of America (FFA) and the 4-H Youth Development Organization.


    U.S. Rep. John Carter
    http://carter.house.gov/
    31st District of Texas

     
  • Viktor posted at 6:12 pm on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    Viktor Posts: 317

    Great points by Tom. If only more people were informed voters. Change begins at home. People can start by educating themselves as to who serves us at the city level. There's a lot of politics in this town worth educating oneself about.

     
  • tomintexas posted at 4:13 pm on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    tomintexas Posts: 39

    While I agree that an informed voter would be the ideal, a significant number of them will be hard to muster for this or any election in the foreseeable future. There are a number of reasons, not the least being the apathy mentioned in this post. A lot of folks know more about the Dallas Cowboy lineup than they do about their Senators and Congressman - including their names. The same could be said with respect to Lady Gaga, Snookie, Lindsay Lohan, etc. - you get the idea.

    Then there are the "single issue" voters: Gun control; taxes; various minority interests; abortion; gay rights and on and on. Politicians know how many potential voters are in these divisive categories and will concentrate their time and other peoples' money to influence them. The truth is that the U.S. is so diverse and average citizens' interests are so commingled it is almost impossible to pick a candidate who can represent all of an individual's special desires.

    Maybe there was a time when a reasonably informed voter could weigh a candidate's statements well enough to make a judgement. However, once the Supreme Court turned the political money loose, that day was over. We are assailed from every direction by videos, printed media, commercials, and phone calls containing hateful comments, half truths and outright lies, outrageous threats, and scare tactics. Statistics are manipulated, doctored, and misrepresented by campaigns, shadow organizations that do not even have to identify their financial sources, and entities with high sounding names that misrepresent their intent and agenda.

    While it may sound self-serving, I make a real effort to be as informed voter. I make it a point to be able to discuss political issues with facts as well as opinions, but as I have already stated, in today's environment, that is difficult. More and more, because of that as well as the polarization and impact of special interest groups, I find myself gravitating to "party politics" and history.

    While this may seem a cop out, it certainly simplifies matters. Maybe my age is showing, but I can remember when a Black person could not drink from "my" water fountain; could not eat at "my cafe"; could not go to "my" school; and had a difficult time casting a ballot. I can remember when there was no consideration for the handicapped in parking or building access; when some of my schoolmates came to school hungry and left the same way; when students with true learning difficulties were ridiculed through ignorance - even by their teachers; when less advantaged people - old and young - did without health care and often food; and when a lot of my classmates could not start school until December because they and their parents were "following the harvest" to earn money for the family.

    I also remember when elected officials recognized the obligations of the government to support education as a means to elevate the citizenry; when our military was employed against real threats, not to enhance corporate interests; when a retiring politician drove himself home from Washington (like Harry Truman) and retired on his own money that he earned honestly (like Sam Rayburn); and I remember when the banker was a member of the community.

    Memories such as these have helped me cut through all of the baloney and trumped up side issues, and as a last resort, I harken back to the reasons our forefathers pledged their lives and worldly possessions for this country. They didn't do it for the Constitution, which was written much later, and which has become a tool for manipulative politicians and judges. They stated their position clearly and beautifully, as I paraphrase: "We hold these truths to be self-evident - that all men are created equal and they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights - that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and to guarantee those rights, governments are instituted among men..."

    It sure makes it easier when I don't ask a political party, "What have you done for me - lately." All I have to do is remember which party's policies enabled a cedar chopper's kids to become educated and prosperous and to rise out of Romney's "47 percent" that he discounts and dismisses. I only wish the election was tomorrow so I could get to the polls sooner.

     
  • Smithjr38 posted at 4:42 pm on Sun, Sep 23, 2012.

    Smithjr38 Posts: 114

    You are correct Don. And considering that the congress mostly GOP has refused to address the coming huge tax increase on 1 Jan 2013 that will hit most taxpayers as much as 4 times if you count the increase Min tax on millions of people.John Carter like most of the GOP refused to sign the Farm bill with affects us all with coming increase food prices on top of the Huge tax increase.And no matter who wins the White House in 2012 . The American people are going to face very hard times and thanks to folks like Carter the tea party and the GOP.So folks should not follow the NRA advice and vote for Carter Since we are about to be punished for the glory of the GOP . we need to punish Carter And if voters will check they will see they have the chance to give Carter and other GOP some pay back. on election day and don't forget Carter and Cruz are friends with the radical Ryan and will help him destroy Social Security and Medicare.And while former Sen Hutchison did a fair job of looking out for Texas Cruz will look out for radical tea party whom almost gave us retired and active military no pay dues if they did not get their way and it was those fools whom put the military funding in danger. If past election the NRA seemed to control most of the Cen Tex GOP votes . But guns is not the issue it is after Jan 1 2013 we all are in for some hard times if we vote for the status quo.

    Edited by staff.

     
  • Mamma Griz posted at 1:22 pm on Sun, Sep 23, 2012.

    Mamma Griz Posts: 255

    What can we do if the candidates themselves don't know anything about the issues-- or are on the fence about them. At times they are like mugwumps-- a guy sitting on the fence with his mug on one side and his wump on the other.

    If only well-informed voters voted, there might be a handful of people voting!

     

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