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Learn all you can before voting

I've been fortunate in my life to have once run for a political office. I lost, but it was worth every hour I put into it.

Since I retired from my job with the city of Boulder City five years ago, I have had more time to be involved in politics, which thrills me and is exactly what I want to do. Talking to anyone and everyone is my greatest pleasure and sharing ideas is just as good, possibly better, than enjoying Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Therapy ice cream.

Politics is life. Politics is ideas. Politics is action. There is nothing more electrifying than standing up in front of a crowd, or speaking to one person, explaining issues and energizing the crowd or the one to get out and vote.

I was introduced to politics at an early age by precinct captains who came to the door to tell you how to vote. Because you would vote their way, you would get a couple of tickets to a circus and a new garbage can. My mother never accepted the circus tickets, and we had the same garbage can for as long as I can remember.

Politics should be about priorities, facts, ideas, plans and the overall view of what our city, county, state and nation should and could be. It should go beyond party labels. If you believe that every citizen has the right to vote, then it follows that we, the people, call the shots.

Politicians have power because we give it to them. No politician, party, corporation or group should be so powerful so as to suppress or inhibit the right of individual voters. Government works for the people.

When you don't vote or cast your vote for the most powerful or least awful politician, everyone loses, not just you.

People are dissatisfied with the government, but they cling to old habits and return lackluster (I'm being kind) politicians to office. Then, some who are dissatisfied with government move in the opposite direction and rally to choose candidates with no political experience. What's the solution?

In order to choose the correct person for any political office, you have to expend effort. You have to be engaged in the political process. If you are concerned with veterans' issues, corruption in the political process, companies closing down and moving to foreign countries, rising prices, climate change, failing educational systems, crumbling infrastructure, income inequality, homelessness, the unemployment rate, the deficit, military spending, terrorism, security, immigration or whether your Boulder City utility bill is correct, then do something!

All of us spend time in front of the TV. Spend less time sitting and more time reading and learning. Read many sources. Read what feels comfortable to you, and then read what makes you feel uncomfortable. If you look to only one source, you can't compare varying points of view.

I think it's a lost opportunity when people don't want to talk about politics and religion. How are we ever going to understand what people of different political leanings and religions believe on a personal level if we don't ask questions and talk to each other about what affects us most?

Discussing issues, not arguing about them, connects us to each other. Dialogue reveals hidden facets of one person to another. Discussing what we have in common and reading as wide a range of material as possible, gets you thinking about all kinds of possibilities, not just the ones you hang on to for some nameless, unspecified reason. Why do you believe what you say you believe? Do you have a solid foundation for your beliefs?

Voting for a certain politician because you "like" them may have some validity; but based on how dissatisfied the country is with the present Congress, we have fallen woefully short in electing politicians who remember the government works for us, not them.

Making change is difficult. Setting new priorities takes effort. Reading and educating yourself about candidates and issues takes your time. You decide whether to change or not. You want another set of priorities to guide the country, or you don't. You either participate in your government, or you don't.

Rose Ann Miele is a journalist and was public information officer for Boulder City for nine years. She can be reached at roseannrab@hotmail.com or at 702-339-9082.

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