Friday, April 16, 2010
To the person or persons leaving comments to my blog in Japanese: I do not read any language besides English and will not approve any comments unless I understand what they say. Please put your comments in English so that I can give them a fair chance of being added to the discussion. Last week I exercised my right to vote when the Municipality of Anchorage held elections. Several positions on the Anchorage Assembly as well as two on the Anchorage School Board were being decided. In recent months I came to the realization that there are many progressives in our local government. I was absolutely stunned to hear one of our assembly members say at an assembly meeting that it was their responsibility to take the wealth from one area of town and redistribute it to the poor areas of town. Those are not her exact words, but they are very close. I was greatly relieved when I understood that she was not seeking re-election! She and five other members of the assembly are known on a local radio show as the "socialist six." One other member of this group was voted out of office this week so there is more hope for our community becoming more stable. Along with getting rid of two progressive members of the assembly, we were able to elect a strong conservative to the school board. Our school system is apparently the most expensive mediocre one in the western states. Half of all the taxes paid to the municipality goes to the school district while the students still suffer from a bloated bureaucracy and large classes. Hopefully, this new conservative voice can help guide our school district to better use of our money. I want to encourage everyone to become registered to vote, become informed in your local issues as well as state and national issues, and then go vote. Remember, elections have consequences! Samuel Adams, one of our Founders, said, "Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual - or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country" (The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor [New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1907], Vol. III, PP 236-237, to James Warren on November 4, 1775). Daniel Webster, another Founder, said, "Impress upon the children the truth that the exercise of the elective franchise is a social duty of as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform; that a man may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every elector is a trustee as well for others as himself and that every measure he supports has an important bearing on the interests of others as well as on his own" (The Works of Daniel Webster [Boston: Little, Brown & Co, 1853], Vol. II, p 108, from remarks made at a public reception by the ladies of Richmond, Virginia, on October 5, 1840). These two quotes demonstrate the importance of being informed voters. There were only 16 percent of registered voters who actually voted in our recent election. Many people in town were apparently unaware that an election was being held. We must understand and remember that our local elections for school boards and city leaders are every bit as important as when a mayor, governor, Senator, or President are on the ballet! Our local leaders are the ones who make our local laws and spend our local funds. We must be responsible citizens and insure that they are working for the good of our communities and not working for special interests.