Wednesday, October 28, 2009
An American Right...An American Responsibility
We are half-way through the autumn season here in Maine. The leaves have--for the most part--fallen to the ground, with only the beech and a few stubborn maple leaves still clinging to their hosts. November is only a few days away. It's a month that is full of activity, here on the 45th parallel. Deer season is in full swing. Veteran's Day comes on the 11th, and Thanksgiving follows on November 26th. Hunting, and the beginning of the holiday season...these American traditions are associated with the eleventh month of the calendar year.
More importantly, in my opinion, is the significance of the Tuesday that follows the first Monday in every November, here in Maine. That day is the day of our yearly regular vote.
I am as patriotic as all get-out, and do my utmost to never miss the opportunity to exercise this--my greatest right and responsibility. How amazing, how awesome...to have my thoughts and opinions MATTER! To have an actual SAY in how my country, state and town is operated, and how my tax monies are spent. To be able to weigh in on important matters, and choose a person to represent me in the Legislature and Congress. Wow. I'm an American! How lucky, how blessed I am!
I've always been of the mind that if an American does NOT take the time to vote, that individual has no right to complain. About ANYTHING, in regards to our laws, our taxes, our way of life here in the United States. Voting is not just a privilege, it is a responsibility. We owe it to ourselves and to the future generations of Americans to be prudent, to be sensible, to have a bit of far-sightedness. We have the power to make our world a better place. And we have the capacity to royally screw it up.
While I am a staunch advocate of getting out to cast a ballot, I am equally opposed to voting when uninformed about the issues in question. I believe it is every citizen's duty to educate themselves on what is on each ballot we are presented with at the polls. For a vote cast in ignorance is a dangerous and irresponsible weapon, able to do great harm, whether harm was intended or not. In my opinion, citizens of this great country have an obligation to be informed voters.
The vote is important...vital, in fact. We must vote, but we must vote with knowledge of the issues at hand. Laziness and ignorance have no business here. Millions of people the world over would love to trade places with us--to become members of this great country...this land of the free and home of the brave. Let's EARN these benefits and freedoms that were given to us at birth. Let's not take advantage of them, or disabuse them. Not many others on this planet are as lucky as we Americans are. Let's be worthy of the rights we possess.
It does not matter to me what stance you take on the questions to be decided next Tuesday. What matters to me is that you care enough to vote, and that you are concerned enough and GRATEFUL enough to get the facts before casting your ballot.
If you are an American who is visiting and reading Grumbles and Grins, I welcome you, friend. And I hope I'll see you at the ballot box on November 3rd. And if you are one of my friends 'from away', greetings! I invite you to take an interest in that which makes America the incredible country it is. Your opinions matter, too. The world is getting smaller, and our neighbors' input has merit. Open dialogue from people who view the world from a different perspective is an invaluable resource...and can make for some excellent debate. And I'm a gal who LOVES a lively discussion!
Below I am pasting in the seven questions that we Mainers are deciding on, come next Tuesday. I've already determined how I'm going to vote on each issue, and I have given these questions careful thought. I invite each visitor to do the same. I invite each Mainer, each American, to be an active and excited citizen of this nation. We're lucky. We're blessed. We are Americans!
Question 1: People’s Veto
Do you want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages?
Question 2: Citizen Initiative
Do you want to cut the rate of the municipal excise tax by an average of 55% on motor vehicles less than six years old and exempt hybrid and other alternative energy and highly fuel-efficient motor vehicles from sales tax and three years of excise tax?
Question 3: Citizen Initiative
Do you want to repeal the 2007 law on school district consolidation and restore the laws previously in effect?
Question 4: Citizen Initiative
Do you want to change the existing formulas that limit state and local government from spending and require voter approval by referendum for spending over those limits and for increases in state taxes?
Question 5: Citizen Initiative
Do you want to change the medical marijuana laws to allow treatment of more medical conditions and to create a regulated system of distribution?
Question 6: Bond Issue
Do you favor a $71,250,000.00 bond issue for improvements to highways and bridges, airports, public transit facilities, ferry and port facilities, including port and harbor structures for the LifeFlight Foundation that will make the state eligible for over $148,000,000.00 in federal and other matching funds?
Question 7: Constitutional Amendment
Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to increase the amount of time that local officials have to certify the signatures on direct initiative petitions?
The Maine ballot. Awesome, isn't it?
We have the freedom and the right to determine the outcome of these significant issues. We have the OBLIGATION to vote with intelligence and thoughtfulness.
The above photo was taken by Jocelia Pease in the woods behind our house on Saturday, October 24, 2009