Honor is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days, so I want to be clear. I am referring not just to the utmost privilege of casting a vote, but also to the integrity required to discern the best choices, consider the greater good and leave an appropriate legacy for the next generation.
Just one vote truly does make a meaningful difference. Last week I had the opportunity to speak at an annual festival hosted by a Vietnamese church. Across the street from the church, the county commissioner’s office had several years earlier voted 3-2 in favor of constructing a waste transfer station. As you might expect, the congregation fought to keep the plant away from their their place of worship.
One vote in another direction would have made a tremendous difference to this congregation. It could have saved the church community a lot of time, money and energy in needless legal battles. Eventually their battle was resolved, but had the commissioners arrived at their decision from a place of honor? I can tell you that the group of worshippers who continue to pray for those very leaders as they move into difficult circumstances have shown honor and compassion enough to inspire us all.
Since 2006, my opponent for the Board of Education District III position and each of the other four board members has been asked to vote 1,000 consecutive times. During the course of six years, no one cast a single no vote. During the course of these years and many before, our board approved dozens and dozens of controversial issues: a school built near a landfill, millions of dollars of questionable land purchases, student reassignments, salary increases for our Superintendent while teachers received none. Surely when you are tasked with the safety, education and well-being of our children, discernment, discussion and a tremendous sense of honor should go into each and every vote.
Where our children are concerned, every vote absolutely matters. It matters when we select the right people to shoulder responsibility and it matters how they behave.
I am asking that you vote for your children and I hope that you will vote for me. Take the time to register. Take the time to understand the issues. Give thoughtful consideration to your choice and go to the polls to make your voice known. Voting is the most sacred responsibility and highest honor we have in this country. Not voting is not a statement. Not voting means that you have missed out on the most basic threshold of our American political participation process. So go forth in honor and vote.