Greatest Sentinel Of Vigilance:
THE FREE ELECTION VOTE
Cliff McKenzie, Editor
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
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.
grown men resort to such vile mudslinging that frightens
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 would ride the bus with the same serenity of my afternoon
of enjoyment watching grandson Angus play on Dr. Suess'
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
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."
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
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.
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
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.
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,
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.
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
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
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
In the final analysis, I realized that the
great Sentinel of Vigilance is the Freedom to Vote.
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.
the RIGHT TO VOTE!
It keeps the Beast of Complacency at bay.
Vote...for the right to vote...for the Children's
To Yesterday's Story: "Beat Bush! Beat Bush! A Message
Of Violence For The Children"
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