Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

July 30, 2012

TIDBITS: Rock the vote on Thursday

CROSSVILLE — Another election day is fast upon us. Thursday, voters will go to the polls and select candidates for the state house of representatives, U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. In addition, Cumberland County voters will be selecting school board members for the second, fourth, sixth and eighth civil districts, and will elect a commissioner to fill the unexpired term of late 9th District Commissioner Clyde Cramer.

Participating in the democratic process is one of the responsibilities of citizenship, along with supporting and defending the Constitution, defending the country if the need should arise, serving on a jury and respecting and obeying federal, state and local laws. What do we get for those responsibilities? The freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness; freedom to worship as we choose without coercion or penalty; freedom to express our views; and freedom to ask the government for redress of grievances. These rights and responsibilities are not to be taken lightly, and being an informed voter is important.

On March 12, 1996, I took part in my first election, casting my ballot in the presidential preference primary on Super Tuesday. It was two days after my 18th birthday, but election laws had allowed me to register in time to participate in my first election. I thank the Rock the Vote movement that began in 1992 that helped young people to be aware of how to register to vote and how to get involved in their government. It helped to connect voters to local election offices.

MTV, with its hordes of young viewers, helped offer the "Choose or Lose" bus that registered almost 40,000 voters in advance of the 1996 presidential election. In Fentress County, the election office personnel had boots on the ground at the local high schools, setting up during lunches to register young voters. I thank them for taking the initiative to do so because, honestly, I was confused as to how I could register for an election being held only two days after I reached the age of majority.

In addition to voter registration, the program also helped connect young people to information on candidates and how to become active in their local communities. It mobilized a generation to stand up and be counted, and it helped educate youth on the importance of taking part in their government. Now, 20 years after Rock the Vote began, those same young people are taking leadership roles in our government, businesses and communities.

Since that first election in 1996, I haven't missed one yet. It's just as important to me now as it was all those years ago.

Now we have lots of programs that make casting your ballot easier and more convenient. Many take part in the early voting period, which allows registered voters to vote at the election commission office prior to election day. It can be faster and easier, allowing those that work in town the convenience of stopping by the election commission office as they go about their business. Present your state or federal photo ID and the nice folks at the office will set up your ballot and allow you to cast the vote for the candidates of your choice.

With the primary election and county general election again falling during the 127 Corridor Sale, it's a huge help to those who's voting precinct is located along Hwy. 127, as mine is. But I can't help but prefer the excitement of election day. There's just something in the air, I guess — a feeling of expectation and hope.

Outside the polling places, past the boundary markers, you will often see friends and relatives of candidates taking the opportunity to get their candidate's name in your mind before you enter the polling place. It's hot, hard work. When I was a youngster, members of my family made the decision to run for public office and, though unable to vote, the teens were put to work handing out cards and helping put up election signs. On election day, we were shuttled to the polling place, advised where to stand and left to shake hands and ask people to support our candidate.

I commend those who have decided to run for office. Serving the public can be hard work and it's often thankless, with someone always second guessing decisions. It's a lot like the news business. You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time.

Those who will be taking office in September, I look forward to working with you. To the candidates that will face off again in November, best of luck and may you have a positive campaign experience.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

  • GARY'S WORLD: The chance to speak your mind

    Are you tired of hearing people complain about the way things are run in Cumberland County? Or, do you like the way the county government is run and operated in our beautiful county?
    Are you happy with the way things are, or would you like some change?

    April 3, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Digging beneath the headlines

    Our media have been focusing on two important events that have taken place overseas during the last several weeks.

    April 1, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: SNAP, health and work

    A recent letter from Representative Diane Black to me states that she voted for the farm bill (with $8 million in Food Stamp (SNAP) benefit cuts) because she, like me, is a supporter of food stamp benefits for Tennessee families who qualify. That’s a lot of families, as most recipients are families with children and the elderly. Now, recall that there was already a major cut to the food stamp program back in the fall. But for some Republicans, that was not enough.

    April 1, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice