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Alive_March2016

m a r c h 2 0 1 6 A L I V E E A S T B A Y 27 Russia, now Lithuania, in 1905 when Mother was about eight months old. My father was born in England of English and German parents who, seeking a better life, brought him here in 1901 when he was four or five. They were both naturalized citizens, voted and paid taxes. I have voted in every election since I was first eligible in 1952—sometimes voting for someone I truly respected; sometimes just choosing the lesser of the “evils.” A couple of chaps named Joe and Adolph would have seen to it that I would never see the light of day had those two families not come to the country where the streets were not paved with gold, but opportunity lay waiting for everyone equally. (Well, almost equally; there are still some who have to work a lot harder to achieve the degree of “equality” others enjoy.) Even in our wonderful country some people still live in “ghettos.” Those ghettos, however, are economically imposed, not instigated by the government with imprisonment or even death being the punishment for violating the ghetto law. In my lifetime and the lifetimes of many of the readers of this treatise, governments of sophisticated, modern countries tried to systematically eliminate people because of their religion, ethnicity, sexual choice, and because they spoke out against the reigning authorities. Here we may dislike or even despise someone else’s life style, but law and tradition prohibits us from harming them or hindering their opportunities. What percentage of one’s income is that worth? Ten percent? Twenty? Thirty? Although I cannot put a specific number on it, to me it’s a hell of a lot. This November we who are caring citizens will have the magnificent opportunity to select a President and other high officials to govern us. About a third of us will vote one way; another third the other way; and the final third will decide the elections. How glorious is that! Or would we prefer that the gang with the most fire power and willingness to harm others decide for us all. That too has got to be worth a portion of our income. The sad part of the process falls to the large numbers who cannot or will not take the time and energy to take advantage of this wonderful gift. I cannot help but wonder how much complaining and hot air those who do not vote generate, despite their complacency. As a concerned citizen, I recognize many of the problems facing our country, but we are still able to discuss, debate, and, legislators willing, even tackle some of the problems. To solve the problems we will all have to give a little and settle for less than what we each consider ideal. Guess what! The good ole U. S. of A. will, in William Faulkner’s words from his Nobel Prize speech, “not only survive, we will prevail.” So if you haven’t already, sometime between March 1 and March 46: Pay up or shut up! It is the best investment you will ever make.


Alive_March2016
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