To vote or not to vote

As a citizen of the United States, I believe we have a responsibility, a right and the freedom to vote, to take what we believe and put it into action, even if ever so small this gesture may be. Voting is the minimal amount we can do to keep our democratic system running. There are many who volunteer, run for office, and speak out to share their time and talent, working hard to make sure we are saving this oldest and strongest democracy on the plant.

Is it a perfect system? Not by a long shot. As we all know, each of us is a life in process – we are not “perfect.” Hence, our self-created government is in process, not “perfect.” Sometimes, we expect to have “instant” changes. “In process” takes years for change to happen. Nothing is set in stone, and as our society and culture change, government can change, be it ever so slowly and incrementally.

We cannot expect our government to meet all of our needs. We each have needs that we want our representatives to meet. But that is unrealistic. If we are looking for our representatives to always come down on “our side,” we are not focused on what the country or the state needs as a whole. We cannot have better public schools, roads or clean air without paying for them. Taxes are what pay for better education and infrastructure. We need to be above the fray and recognize that a better good for all is what we really want and work toward that end.

Are there some “rotten eggs” involved in government? Of course, as there are in any organization. Be that what it may, we have come a long way since the Revolutionary War and the substantial gain we made toward democracy when we won in 1776.

I know, sometimes it feels like we have gone backwards in the last few years – in-fighting among the administration, as well as Congress, other countries eroding our system by interfering and hacking into our governing process. This, along with some of our “leaders” not really seeming to care whether we have good health care, jobs that pay well, or safe roads and bridges, clean air and clear water.

It makes one wonder, why should I go out and spend my time in a line in order to vote. For what? To elect some different politicians to run this imperfect democracy? Yes.

What else should we suggest? Set up a totalitarian government with a dictator in charge of where we work, our pay, have companies set up and run by government, allow us no say in the laws that govern us, and live in fear of death for speaking up about our governing system?

It’s called a dictatorship – government without any representation, any sense of fairness, and one in which we too often are forgotten about in the battles between the Administration, the governing bodies and between political parties. The incumbent party doesn’t think of doing anything for the vast middle class until the election rolls around.

Listening to and watching ads does not give us the information we need to vote. Listen to a trustworthy news outlet, read a trusted newspaper – and use critical thinking. Check accusations out.

The news media investigations the actions of the players in our government. What would be do without the news media?

If we don’t like the direction our county has been taking lately, we have to vote other people into office who are going to work toward our ideals and what we really want as a society. It does not happen by not voting. It only happens by voting. Surely, we can afford a little bit of effort at this time of year to vote. There is still time register and vote ahead of or on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, too.

Let us not be complacent… complacency is the death of democracy. Even at our government’s worst, we are the best the world has never known. Demonstrate we still believe our form of government – a democracy – and vote.

Jan Olsen

Fun citizens academy instilled appreciation

The end of October brings not only Halloween, but the end of the Waunakee Citizen’s Academy. While the name might suggest Wednesday nights sitting in class, the police, fire, and EMS have provided an enlightening and exciting experience for the 14 of us attending this year. After all, where else do you get to drive police cars, use the Jaws of Life, and volunteer to be tased?

My biggest take away from this year is a deep appreciation for everyone who is involved with the services, but especially those who volunteer. The commitment that these people give to our community is tremendous. I hope as we move forward with equipment replacement, we remember how much these people give and our responsibility to keep them safe.

The next class isn’t until next fall, but it is never too soon to sign up. Thank you to all of those who participated as teachers and students who made the experience so fun.

Ann Lewandowski

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