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Good Citizen Part II

So often in today’s world of rapid change, we are hard pressed to find out what’s for dinner let alone what is on the next ballot. The competition for our eyeballs is fierce, with us seeing hundreds of messages a day on TV, Facebook, Twitter, etc. It’s exhausting, and often makes me and my friends want to take what I call a news diet. There’s only so much I can process, and it’s all coming at me so quickly now- more quickly than it ever has in human history.

Make no mistake my friends, we really are in an era of upheaval where change is abundant in all aspects of life. This is rather unsettling for most humans, as we crave routine, something we can point to as absolute fact, and a foundation that is unshakable. I could go a few directions from here, but I’ll stick with how important it is for us to maintain the institutions which are the bedrock of our society. My favorite is called democracy.

More than ten years ago, I ran for the Oklahoma House of Representatives in a very different era. I knocked more than 15,000 doors to have conversations and learn what people needed from their government. Of course my number one issue was education- its importance, the need to fund it, teacher pay, etc. The race was going to be tight against an established name in the district. My consultant told me I would either lose by ½ a point or win by ½ a point. He was right.

I lost. By the insane amount of 124 votes I believe- out of over 12,000 votes cast. The vote was 49.5% for me and 50.5% for my opponent (who actually turned out to be a very generous man). After that loss by so few votes, I sometimes wondered how I would feel had I won and was serving in the Oklahoma legislature.

124 people made a difference in that election. It mattered. I don’t know how, but it did.

Being a good citizen means that you take the time to vote. You can get ballots sent to your home for every election if you can’t make it to the polls.

You can vote early at the county election board if Tuesday’s no good for you. I guess people might be so jaded by what they see and hear in the news that they don’t think it makes a difference. But there are countless examples in history where an important decision came down to just a few votes.

So even though we don’t have a major election anytime soon, please resolve to show up at the polls this year. You should be heard in a democracy, or we might as well change our form of government.

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