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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016 12:21 am

Letters to the Editor 8/25/16


We’re about eleven weeks out from the Presidential elections. Are you on top of the issues and concerns you’ll address with the pull of a lever or the punch of a stylus on November 8?

If not, here are 10 ways to prepare for your civic duty in national, state and local elections. Tackle one step a week. By Election Day, you’ll be ready to cast your ballot.

  1. Add your elected officials to your email contacts. Legislators care what you think. Let them know. It’s much easier to stay in touch if you have their contact information in your phone or email address book.
  2. Create a list of issues that matter to you. You can’t pay attention to everything, so choose a few issues that are important to you and the common good. For starters, choose one issue facing the planet, the nation and your state, county and municipal governments. Write them down then listen up when the issues are raised in the media or at your dinner table.
  3. Sign on to the mailing lists of organizations that address issues you care about. This is a simple, effective way to increase your understanding about what’s important to you. If you prefer a clutter-free inbox, follow the organizations on your social media accounts instead.
  4. Serve. Let your heart be broken open by the suffering of the people in your community, across the state and around the globe. Direct contact with people whose lives are affected by policy can change your life.
  5. Read the Constitution. It never hurts to remind yourself what it really says.
  6. Read your local newspaper. If your only news source is your social media feed or television, you are missing out. Splurge on a print or online subscription to your local papers or read them at the library. Keep a finger on your community’s pulse by reading the opinion pages or the letters to the editor.
  7. Know the candidates. Now that you’ve improved your understanding of issues that matter to you, get to know the people you are about to hire to make the big decisions. It’s election season, so watch the candidates websites for schedules of local appearances or debates; find a source for nonpartisan reviews of their voting records or speeches; if possible, make an appointment to visit in person.
  8. Join forces. Faith-based community organizing is a wonderful way to put your power to work for the common good. Use a search engine to find a group near you. 
  9. Pray. You may hear it said that we need more than prayer to assure a working democracy. That’s true; otherwise we could have skipped steps 1-9. But we do need prayer, too.
  10. Vote. Your county clerk’s office is responsible for your local elections. Contact that office for the details.

Shelly Heideman
Faith Coalition for the Common Good

I just started reading Nagasaki: Life after Nuclear War for my book club. I have to admit, I am apprehensive about learning what victims and survivors in Japan went through in August of 1945. I need to read it, though, to remind myself of how devastating and cruel atomic weapons can be. Nuclear destruction is a primary concern in this presidential election.

In November, Americans with common sense will not allow an unstable person like Donald Trump to become Commander-in-Chief of this country. Imagine “President” Trump having a bad day: Some politician complains about him to the press, a business partner rats him out on some big deal that went sour, or a subordinate disagrees with him publicly. More importantly, what if the leader of another country, say Putin, dares Trump to respond to some event with a nuclear weapon? Instead of diplomacy or a proportionate response, would Trump call his bluff?

Writer Maya Angelou used to caution people that when someone shows you who they are, you should believe them.

Deena L. Dailey

In “Tardy Party” (August 11-17) the author implied that Vandalia was the capital of Illinois in 1818. In reality, Kaskaskia was the capital of Illinois from 1818-1820, after which time the seat of government moved to Vandalia.


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