Last year, we elected a new president of the United States of America. Some have said it was the longest presidential election in history, since many of those who ran for president began campaigning as early as February of 2007, more than a year and a half before voting actually began. Some started even earlier. Most Americans were aware of these early campaigners, though I doubt many paid much attention to them. I kept my eye on the field, mostly because for the first time in my life I had found a candidate about whom I actually felt excited.
Despite my excitement, I was virtually as unengaged as ever in politics this last election cycle. I didn't contribute money to any campaign. I didn't volunteer in any way. I voted, and that was about all I did. It simply didn't occur to me that there was any way that I could make a significant impact on the outcome, as the candidate I backed didn't even make it through the primary season, and I was less than enthusiastic about my remaining choices. Even though I told everyone that this very well may prove to be the most important presidential election in our lifetime, I failed to involve myself even as much as I could have.
I don't intend to make the same mistake again. The next presidential election may not be for another four years, but there are numerous state, city, and local elections taking place all the time. In a year, my home state of Virginia will hold a gubernatorial election, and the country will elect a new House of Representatives in the Congressional "midterm" elections. To borrow a popular line from The West Wing, "When is it not an election year?"
And even when there aren't candidates putting their faces on the air and in the papers, Congress and our new president have always in front of them the business of running the nation. Proposed legislation that affects the lives of every American is being written, considered, and passed into law all the time. It is the duty of every American not only to elect leaders to represent our interests in the capital, but also to constantly watch over them and ensure that they do what we elected them to do. How else will they know what we need unless we tell them? When you forget about your country, your country forgets about you.
I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. I am not even a registered independent. I hold some liberal opinions, though most of my beliefs tend towards the conservative viewpoint; hence the title of this blog. I have voted for candidates of each of the major parties in my time, and even from some of the "minor" parties. Each time, I voted for the man or woman whom I believed best represented my beliefs, my values, and my priorities, and nothing else. I wanted the best person for the job. That is why I vote, and why we should all vote; but it is not enough to simply vote.
This blog is dedicated to sharing my beliefs, my values, and my priorities with others. They may change over time, with persuasion and as I gain more wisdom, hopefully. I invite all to share their own beliefs, values, priorities, and wisdom with me, as that is how this country was founded, and as it is the only way that it will continue to survive. The term is "a free exchange of ideas". That is what I hope to accomplish here; unbiased, nonpartisan, and fair.
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