Sixty days from now, we’ll each have a chance to choose who will lead this country for the next four years. Your vote is just as important as mine is. That’s what makes this such a great country. We are lucky.

Both conventions are over, so the hoopla and shouting and funny hat wearing has come to a halt. Thank God. Now, it’s time to get down to some serious business and listen, quietly, to what each of the candidates have to say about what their intentions happen to be in the years to come.

Aren’t politics fun’

Now, we get down to the serious part of the process. The debates.

It seems to me that the conventions are pretty much of a cake walk for each of the candidates. They are surrounded by their faithful members, so anything they say is pretty much guaranteed to get applause and approval.

“I’m for sending garbage on a space shuttle to the moon….”

Yeah….loud applause.

“I’m against the invasion of Antarctica.”

Yeah…more loud applause.

“My opponent wants to require dolphins to wear name tags….I’m against any future tagging of underwater animals.”

The hall goes crazy. The posturing comes and goes over us in waves. We are tired and weary of listening to ‘he said….they said…’ each night for months on end. The endless photos of thumbs up and big smiles with clenched fists, most all of which have been carefully programmed by some experts in political photo opportunities. “How can we get a baby into this picture’”

Who brings their baby in diapers to a political rally anyway’Most of them are in the hot sun somewhere and you know you have to get there hours early to be checked out by security. It isn’t as if you could just walk up and say…”Hi, I’d like to show the candidate my new baby.” You think some kid five months old is going to know who the heck this guy is kissing him/her on the forehead’Not hardly.

The debates are a different story. First off, they aren’t held and hosted by one party or another, so they have equal time and opportunity. This insures that interruptions are held to a minimum. This is a good thing. There are also time limits for each speaker.

This is a very good thing.

Whatever happens you can be certain of one thing. Each side will blame the other for any and everything that has ever happened since time started.

“My worthy opponent…” Don’t you just love how they describe each other’

“My worthy opponent once said he would have voted to kick Julius Caesar out of office if he had been allowed to do so ….”

The other candidate responds…..”My colleague would have you believe that Jonas Salk was a crazy man and his vaccine is not to be trusted…”

Now, anyone who follows any part of this knows that nearly anything any person running for office has ever said in their lifetime will ultimately be taken out of context by the other side. This is a given.

If a recording had been made of some candidates first words as a toddler happened to fall into the wrong hands, you can bet they’ll show up at some later date and used in the context of something along the lines of…”My friend has made speeches in the past in which he makes absolutely no sense at all and his policies are hard to understand….”

All’s fair in love and politics.

But you know, complain as we might…this is our process and one that has endured for over two hundred years. There are not many systems like ours.

You and I have an awesome responsibility. It is to choose how we want to be governed. It makes no difference if it’s for a school board member, mayor …bond election, local referendum on some disputed issue of one sort or another or for President of our country.

We have the responsibility to review the matters before we go to the polls and cast our ballots. Men and women for the past two hundred years have died to give us this privilege. We all have some family member some where or another in the past that was injured or even killed in some war that was being fought to allow our country to remain free. We owe it to their memory and their sacrifice to get up off the couches in our houses and go out and vote when the time comes to do so. Freedom is never cheaply bought; it comes with a dear price.

I always remember what I heard years ago about the folks who don’t vote…..they get the kind of government they deserve.