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Count. Vote.
by Mark Bradley
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Count. Vote.

Very soon, one of the greatest rights that this country bestows on its citizens will be utilized across this country. The right to select by popular vote who will sit in the halls of power and lead this country into the next few years. What, you didnít think thatís what you were doing? You thought that you were just going into the booth and pulling some levers? Wrong! You are part of the political process. You are in charge of making this country what it is and keeping it great.
Sadly, there are those in this country that wonít take part in this process. They donít see the point. They donít see how they make any difference. These people are so blinded by the corruption stories and the conspiracy theories that they actually believe that one vote wonít matter. Dangerous thinking, for sure.
The fact that one person would think this way is bad enough. The problem is that itís not just one vote. It usually adds up to about fifty or sixty million votes every election. A tenth of that number could have changed the entire election last time around. Think of what could have happened with that scenario. Liberals should be motivated, and conservatives terrified by that.
I know we are not all going to agree. Thatís one of the things that make this country great. The fact that different ideas can be expressed without the fear of government agents busting through the door and carrying you off to a concentration death camp. We need to disagree. General George S. Patton once said, ďIf everyone is thinking the same thing, then someone in the room is not thinking.Ē
No matter your political affiliation, you need to get out and vote. Get out and let the politicians know where you stand on the issues that you feel will shape this country. Let them know that you care about this country and that you will not simply be taken advantage of by the bureaucrats in office. They need to know that they are accountable to the people that have put them into office.
Campaigns come every election about how we need to just get out and vote. It doesnít matter what we vote on, or even what position we take. Just do it. Just pull the lever and count for something.
Nice idea. Unfortunately, they only have it half right. Yes, get out and vote. Yes, get out into the polling places and make a selection known. Yes, count and take hold of the right that has been one of the most celebrated and protected in this nationís history.
Do not, however, go blindly into the curtained room and just start pulling levers and pushing buttons on the touch screen. Voting is your right, but it is not a right to be taken lightly. With this right, as with all rights, there is a measurable responsibility attached to it. As an American voter, it is your responsibility to be informed when you hit the voting trail. Donít just say that you are for or against a particular issue. Know why you youíre for or against it. Do some research. Everything that you could ever want to know about potential bills before the lawmakers is accessible through government websites. You can check out voting records of any legislator that sits in the decision-making position. Know what you are doing before you get into that booth.

Donít vote how you feel. Emotion is not your friend in this case. Donít vote for someone because you think he looks honest. Donít vote for someone because he or she gave a speech that left you in tears of joy. That kind of thing. Logic, reason, and research are your allies in this situation. These decisions are far too important to be left to the whims of emotion. He may sound very smooth, but more people buy used cars that donít run from smooth salesmen, only to find out they have been had. You want to feel good about something, try the feeling that you have made an informed decision and that you have supported your right to vote by living up to the responsibility that has been paid for in blood. Countless thousands have fought to secure and protect that right. The least you can do is put in a little study time.
Youíve made the decision to matter in this countryís political future. Good job. Youíve stowed away the emotional ties you have and decided to put in a little responsible study time. Youíre batting two for two. My last piece of advice would be to pray before you go into the booth. Just before you get out of the car will do. In your prayer closet at home if you feel more comfortable. Where doesnít matter. The fact that you ask for a little divine guidance is important.
Like it or not, this country was founded on Christian principles. Over the decades, politicians have edged God out of the way until itís practically a capitol offense to even mention His name. As Christians, we serve a power that far outweighs the ones here on Earth. It is our duty to Him that we do everything we can to bring His name and His principles back into this country. I can think of no better place to start than by asking for His direction when we step into the process of deciding political leaders. It would be very difficult for us to say that we want God in America again, and then not ask who He wants to sit in the seats of earthly power. Ask, and you shall receive. Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and the door will swing wide and let you in. Okay, Iím paraphrasing.
I have not mentioned whom I think you should vote for. There are a bunch of reasons for that, and I already mentioned them. I hope you were paying attention. I am currently doing my research and compiling my list of who did what and why they did it. I have a list of issues that matter to me, and these issues matter because of the convictions that I hold dear. Remember Pattonís quote. I will not, more than likely, think along the same lines as you do. I have my convictions, and you have yours. You will have to make your decisions based on your belief system. I can tell you who I think is a good candidate till Iím blue in the face. If your system and mine donít match, Iíve wasted a lot of air.
My goal here was to layout some basic guidelines and give you a reason or two to get out and fulfill your responsibility as an American citizen. I will leave you with one final piece to ponder. If you simply refuse to vote and donít want any part of the process, then you have no right to complain about the politicians you get. Why? Because you had your chance to do something about it, and you didnít. I hope you like what you get, but Iím not taking that chance.

Mark A. Bradley

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