The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

November 5, 2012

The privilege of casting ballots


Monday, November 5, 2012 — Democracy can be a messy business.

But, it is also a privilege and a responsibility that must be taken very seriously.

We live in a country whose forefathers knew what it was like to be ruled instead of being part of the process.

In their wisdom, they fashioned a government that is “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

On Tuesday, the citizens of this country will have the opportunity to bring those words to life as they are given the privilege to cast ballots for those who they feel can best lead our county, state and country.

These are not decisions that should be taken lightly.

Throughout the pages of this newspaper over the past several months have been the views and opinions of those who would seek those offices of leadership.

They have, through various forms of media, attempted to say the best about themselves and, in some cases, the worst about their opponents.

Yes, it is a messy and sometimes distasteful process that has been established. However, the decision is not in the hands of those who send out the message. It is in the hands of the citizens who take the time and effort to learn as much as they can about the issues and those who seek their trust.

Locally, it is time to choose members of the county commission, school board and register of deeds.

These are the folks you know and the offices which will most closely affect your lives.

The candidates may be friends, neighbors or acquaintances; however, now more than ever, it is important to not vote on those qualities alone. It is not about the best friend as much as it is about the best person for the job.

Both the commission and school board are facing some crossroad decisions that will affect Stanly County for decades to come. This is not a time to be complacent about who will help to make those decisions.

A governor, state representative and state senator are also to be chosen. Those are offices that will also face some major decisions about the future of North Carolina. Choosing those who are willing to make those tough choices and be honest about why they are taking the actions they feel best could not be more important than it is now.

Our citizens will also go to choose a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

While that person will only be one of 435, it is called “The People’s House” because it is as close to a citizen legislature as we have. It is the congressional position that most relates to home and the needs of constituents.

It is also where all major legislation begins and even the least of members can have a large say in the issues of budget and defense.

Again, not a decision to take lightly.

We will also pick the next president of the United States.

Here is a person we trust with our safety, with our secrets and with our futures.

This is the leader of the most powerful nation on earth.

It is someone who bears responsibilities no one can truly fathom unless they have sat at the presidential desk.

On Tuesday, the citizens must make the decisions as to  who are up to these tasks.

It has never been more important that we choose well.

And, it has never been more important citizens take the time to make the people’s choices heard.

To all those who have already voted, thank you for taking your responsibility seriously.

For those who have not, the only thing you may have to battle is a long line — nothing like what those who fought for you to have the right to freely vote and have that voice recognized.

The bottom line is be a good citizen. Go vote.