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America's Greatest Sentinel Of Vigilance:
Cliff McKenzie, Editor

GROUND ZERO PLUS 1131 DAYS,--New York, NY, Sunday, October 17, 2004-- Despite the immaturity of political candidates running for the top leadership position in America calling each other liars, cheats and thieves--the American free election "right to vote" stands tall as the greatest Sentinel of Vigilance for the protection of the Children's Children's Children's rights.

When I become disgusted with politics, as I am now, and I am embarrassed that grown men resort to showing commercials with children being threatened by some Terror monster and accusing the other of doing things that will endanger that child's life and security, I want to vomit.

I'm embarrassed grown men resort to such vile mudslinging that frightens our children
I'm embarrassed grown men resort to such vile mudslinging that frightens our children

Part of me wants to refuse to vote. Part of me wants a "better system" to replace the seemingly incurable one that allows seemingly responsible adults to act as a couple of schoolyard bullies vying for control over the rest of the kids' lunch money tax.

Just the other day my wife and I and two-year-old grandson were enjoying our wedding anniversary together. We elected to give ourselves a great present--babysitting the two-year-old Angus, who represents our Children's Children. We were three generations together, grandparents and grandchild. Adding up 80 years of life for us, 80 for our children, and 80 for Angus, that about 240 years of life--some lived, some yet to be lived.

You would think with a quarter of millennium of living flesh around--actualized and potential--there might be something mature in the air, something ripe with human perspicuity that can't be fogged by stupid, juvenile, biased, bigoted views that serve only one generations point of view and one caste of that generation's favor and tastes.

But on the bus, sitting next to us, was a woman about our age. We had ridden for about twenty minutes when she turned and asked, in what I thought was a generic based question, who we thought might be the next president.

I thought I would ride the bus with the same serenity of my afternoon of enjoyment watching grandson Angus play on Dr. Suess' train...
I thought I would ride the bus with the same serenity of my afternoon of enjoyment watching grandson Angus play on Dr. Suess' train.....

I launched out with how disgusted I was with both men's behaviors and rhetoric, and then stated I was a Republican and would probably vote for my party, not for the man.

Then all hell broke loose. The woman, a liberal of the most enflamed New York flavor, began to rail on all Republicans, and, of course, how "stupid" I was for voting for Bush.

I was taken aback. I actually thought I had made my point that I wasn't in favor of the election process--specifically the nature of the campaign or its rhetoric--but I was going to cast a vote not for anyone in particular, but against Complacency, against doing nothing. I believe the common saying is: "voting for the less of two political evils."

...and in the 'Contraptions' exhibit
...and in the 'Contraptions' exhibit

Here, in what I thought might be the serenity of a New York City bus traveling from the Children's Museum where we had spent a wonderful morning and afternoon with Angus climbing aboard the Dr. Suess' displays and playing in the A-Z Contraption Room. We thought we were otherwise washing ourselves of an outside world of barbed discontent eager to wage war on one another at the drop of pin--we were somewhat unprepared to be attacked so suddenly, so quickly, so blatantly.

Angus was asleep next to his G-Ma, napping before we made our stop at 42nd Street where the world's largest toy store--Toys 'R Us--awaited Angus' eager eyes. We love taking him and his older brother and sister to Toys 'R Us for grandparents' dessert. After any event we go on, it's fun to wheel him into the giant toy store and unleash him amidst thousands of toys where he can play and enjoy himself as an elf might in Santa's workshop.

But now the lady next to us was throwing acid bombs on us, drenching us with vitriolic words that suggested we were selling out our grandchildren, destroying the country's moral fiber by voting for Bush, and endangering the future of all mankind and womankind.

I thought about the value of 'exchange'
I thought about the value of 'exchange'

Ironically, a man sitting next to the woman and dressed in a suit caught the conversation as one might if he or she is seated in the midst of a crossfire. He casually turned to the irate woman who could not believe we were Republicans and said in a soft, but firm voice, "I'm a Republican too!"

That set the woman off again. Here she was, hoping to sew up her own point of view on a bus with other New York Liberals who spoke her same political language and ate her same political dogma, trapped by two Republicans. You might have thought she was sitting next to Osama bin Laden and Adolph Hitler's Grandchildren.

When we exited the bus for Toys 'R Us, Angus was still sleeping. He hadn't heard the exchange, which was not a bad one in a sense. No bad words had been used. Grandpa had stood up for his beliefs. The woman for hers. In the end, the only real point was that each conviction was yet reaffirmed, and the child--Angus--slept on while it occurred.

I thought about the value of the exchange.

In America we enjoy this incredible right to vote
In America we enjoy this incredible right to vote

In America, we enjoy this incredible right to vote. Even if the people we vote for sometimes embarrass us, or disgust us, or in no way seem to represent us, we still have this powerful right to vote that means absolutely nothing unless we exercise it.

Part of me had reached a point where I wanted not to vote for anyone--a kind of retaliation against both candidates. My "free choice" was to choose not to exercise it, I thought.

But after the encounter with the woman on the bus I began to realize that if I didn't vote, I would be robbing Angus of the privilege and right to vote in his mature life.

What if, I thought, everyone became disgusted and upset with whomever was running for office and people just stopped voting? Eventually, the right to vote would die a death of Complacency, and new leadership would rise not from the bones of a voting ballot box, but perhaps from the barrel of a gun and the clack of heels stomping down a street where people had abdicated their rights to vote.

I realized also that my vote wasn't my vote, and that my choice wasn't my choice. As an adult and a Sentinel of Vigilance, charged with the duty of helping protect the Children's Children's Children--as all adults are by the nature of their maturity--my vote belongs to Angus, his brothers and sisters, and Angus' children, and their children's children.

It would be easy for me to "waste" my vote out of pure disgust over the current political process, but if I stopped and thought about it--as I did on that bus--I realized that my vote was as important to Angus and his future as the freedom of the soil upon which Americans walk each day.

The right to vote is a duty to protect the freedom for our children
The right to vote is a duty to protect the freedom for our children

The right to vote is truly a duty to protect the freedom for the children. By not voting, I would fall into the arms of the Beast of Terror whose primary mission in life is to strike me full of Complacency so that I refuse to act.

When I surrender my rights to fight and stand up for my beliefs--however just or unjust they may be in the eyes of others--I have become Terrorism's floor mat.

Worse, I have given over to Terrorism the rights of future generations, for any surrender of my own carries with it, the surrender of those less capable of standing up for their own rights.

Angus could have cared less about the right to vote. He is just two years old. But, as he grows from the age of innocence into the age of Vigilance, he will be charged with additional duties--one of them will be to protect his children and other children from the harm of Complacency, from the prison of powerlessness.

I actually respected the woman railing on me. She had the right to voice her opinion, even if her tactic was questionable. I had the right to voice mine.

Freedom allows us that right.

We also had the right to vote for whomever we wished.

In the final analysis, I realized that the great Sentinel of Vigilance is the Freedom to Vote.

I realized the great Sentinel of Vigilance is the Freedom to Vote
I realized the great Sentinel of Vigilance is the Freedom to Vote

In Iraq and other lands, this new freedom is being exercised. It goes by unnoticed by many, but the other day I realized how important it was not for me, but for Angus and all the other children of a free land.

If you are considering not voting for any personal and selfish reasons, I urge you to reconsider. What if your "no vote" is cast against the children at some point in the future? What if Complacency creeps into our political system with such force as to freeze us all into a state where we don't care, and as a result, the right to vote dies?

Voting is not our right, it is our duty for the children, and their children.

Vote...for the RIGHT TO VOTE!

It keeps the Beast of Complacency at bay.

Vote...for the right to vote...for the Children's Children's Children.



Go To Yesterday's Story: "Beat Bush! Beat Bush! A Message Of Violence For The Children"



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