By ROBERT JUMPER
ONE FEATHER EDITOR
Oh, my last pitch to get you out to the polls. As you see this message to you, early voting will be in its last week and, when you see in print, the last day. Early indications are that voter turnout has been heavy since early voting began.
Federal, state and local agencies have made it about as easy as it could be to let your voice be heard in this election. Most municipalities in the country allow online voter registration. Most everyone has the opportunity to either vote early or absentee vote. No photo identification is required in most states. The path to the voting booth has never been more clear and straight.
With dual citizenship, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and United States, we have the right and civic duty to select those who will govern our affairs in the Tribe, the county, the state and the nation.
There have been two local and state candidate forums held on the Boundary. Occupy WNC brought Swain and Jackson County Board of Commissioners candidates to the Chief Joyce Dugan Cultural Arts Center to share their platforms and plans if elected. They expressed willingness and, in some instances, eagerness to work with the Tribe in developing projects that would, in their words, be beneficial to all. State Legislature candidates were brought in on an early evening in October to do the same. All expressed a desire to assist the Tribe in some way.
The One Feather has presented information on candidates, as have other media outlets. The candidates themselves have websites and social media accounts to fill you with information to tell you why they are the best candidates for offices. If you are looking for information to make your choice, it is easy to find.
Ultimately, you will have to look at these men and women. You will have to research their backgrounds and records; watch the attack ads and the counterattack ads; and argue their worth with your Facebook friends. You will have to look at a candidate and decide if he or she has the same values and convictions as you. You will question, “Will this person be an advocate for my needs, for my parents, grandparents, children, and grandchildren? Does this person have the education and experience to make a difference for my family? Is this a person good character and high moral standard (based on your own personal assessment of those traits)?”
Decisions made at election time run into the future. Our Chiefs and Council Representatives are a four and two year decision respectively. County positions are generally four years in length. State and federal seats are similar with presidents and governors being seated for four years, senators for six years and congressman for two years. Much has been made in the media about the Supreme Court appointments that the next U.S. president will make, stating that the next president could seat as many as four judges on that court – possibly affecting societal norms for the next 40 years. So, you might look at your vote as an investment in your family’s future – your family’s ability to get education, jobs, housing, personal security, life decisions…well, you get the idea.
Your vote affects the lives and future of you and your loved ones. Don’t you think it is worth a few minutes of study, concentration, and maybe aggravation of waiting in a line for a little while? We all sometimes get frustrated as we look at the state of our government. You want to give those folks a piece of your mind? The best way to do it is to go to the polls. So, just do it. You can’t always get what you want, but if you vote, you might just get what you need.