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Seventeen Men


J.D. Pendry

Nothing is more disturbing to people who are full of trickery and duplicity than straight forward honesty - that's the one thing they can't deal with.  -Dr. Steven Covey

Taking advantage of the opportunity we have to vote early here in Wild and Wonderful, Su and I voted yesterday. There were some other reasons we voted, but Iíll get to those in a minute.Weíve done the only physical thing we can to influence the outcome of the most important national election in our lifetime.I was curious about all of the voting horror stories weíve been hearing so I was interested in the early voting procedure.Frankly, it was a much more pleasant experience than I anticipated.I know that on the first day a couple of weeks ago there were some demonstration idiots nearby the county voterís registration office where the early voting takes place.None of that happened yesterday, although I expected it.


The only identification we had to present was a voterís registration card.My wife has been a citizen of this country for 27 years, yet when she speaks itís quite apparent that she is not native born.At no time during the registration or voting process did anyone ask her to provide proof of citizenship.She brought her passport along because we expected that to happen.Who might vote in our elections that are not legal citizens concerns me some.After they checked us against the voterís registration database, we got in line to get our ballots.We secured our ballots and proceeded to voting booths.I got an image of a bugged eyed Al Gore running around with his hair on fire as I inserted my punch card into the slot and opened up my butterfly ballot.After flipping through the ballot, I returned to the first page to start voting.I bypassed the straight ticket page and proceeded to the page that listed the candidates for national, state and local elections page by page.I then carefully selected the candidate of my choice for each office.When finished, I pulled the card from the slot and examined it thoroughly.There were no hanging, pregnant or dimpled chads.Sorry Al.Then I inspected the holes in the cards to ensure they corresponded with the number I selected on the ballot.They did.Sorry Al.When I turned in the ballot, I watched them record the number, seal the ballot in an envelope and drop it into a locked box.Su did the same.Except for the identification issue, I felt secure that the democratic process is working well in Wild and Wonderful.


After voting, Su and I stopped by the grocery store.While following her dutifully with the grocery cart, I started thinking about the reasons that people vote or not.In recent history, less than half of us who could did.The lady at the voterís registration office told us of a steady stream of voters since early voting started.Iíve had people whoíve never voted before talk to me about voting this year.I believe that record numbers will turn out at the polls and theyíll be there for many varied reasons.Iím certainly in no position to question the reasons why people vote or do not nor will I question their choices.I can only tell you what motivates me to vote.


Weíve been hearing much about new voter registration, especially in the so-called battleground states.Many of those registrations are turning out as bogus.There is another voter drive taking place.You havenít heard much about it, although I believe itís scarring the crap out of some folks.Itís happening in Churches across the country.My hope is that a silent majority crosses political partly lines to vote their values on November 2, 2004.Itís the silent majority that hasnít voted in past elections.The silent majority that questions a man who professes faith yet doesnít stand for the principles of the faith.The silent majority grows each time a politician turns a Church service into a political rally or endorses Hollywood as our countryís heart and soul.


I voted because I believe the survival of our nation depends on the choice Americans make in this election.I believe that to the depths of my being.


I voted because a piece of this great country needs to understand that most Americans do value family and life and do not share values with Hollywood.


I voted because I do not want my country led by the political party that embraces the lies and political ideology of our countryís Michael Moores.


I voted because seventeen men who spent a combined109 years and three months in North Vietnamese prisons, proudly wearing two Congressional Medals of Honor, 24 Silver Stars, 27 Bronze Star Medals, 24 Legions of Merit, 26 Purple Hearts, 24 Distinguished Flying Crosses and other assorted decorations do not have a voice in our country.


I voted because a political party is working feverishly to keep seventeen men from telling their first hand accounts of events and to take away their right of free speech to protect a political candidate.


I voted because the media in our country is actively campaigning for a political candidate.Theyíve proven this time and again by trotting out one negative book after another and even supporting their fabricated stories with forged documents, yet will not give a voice to seventeen true American Heroes.


I voted because I do not want my country and my brothers and sisters of arms led by a political party that tries to silence them and has never supported them in time of war or peace.


I voted because four questionable months in a combat zone, followed by a betrayal of your comrades in an act of self-promotion does not qualify a man to lead the worldís most powerful nation and its Armed Forces.


I voted because I respect, not fear, a man who humbles himself before God.A man that is not afraid to profess his faith.A man who is not afraid to admit that he goes to his knees in prayer for the wisdom and courage to do the right things.A man thatís not afraid to tell you how he feels, even if it hurts politically.


Yesterday, I asked for wisdom to make the correct choices just as I do daily.On November 2, 2004, Iíll pray for our country and those who cast votes.On November 3, 2004, Iíll either be rejoicing the victory of my candidate, lamenting his loss or angered because our national election is once again under litigation.††† On November 3, 2004, Iíll pray for our country again regardless of the outcome, because no one in this realm controls it.Will you join me?




Read Paul Schneidmill's Weekly Devotional


J.D. Pendry is author of The Three Meter Zone, Random House/Ballantine.

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