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Vote Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

Vote Now or Forever Hold your Peace

“And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.” Wait, “brotherhood?” “Shining sea?” America may usually be united in brotherhood, but not during election time. And it is definitely not shiny. Every one is picking a side and debating over which candidate is better. In high school, politics are not a big deal, at least to most people. Sure, we all learned about the electoral college and the government in school but we have never had to apply it in real life. Now you are in college, on your own with no parents to tell you what to do, and no one to lead the way. What will you do? For many of you, this will be your first time that you are going to be able to vote in a presidential election. With the election coming up next year, you better be ready to vote and get your opinion out there.

News

You may think that news is boring blah, blah, blah. Even that sentence was too boring for you, right? Pay attention! If you actually took the time to watch the news, you would notice all of the issues that are debated every single day. The election is not coming up for a whole year but the potential candidates are already making speeches for their campaigns. You might think that you are still too young to care, but you aren’t. You are at an age where you need to exercise your right to voice your opinion. Start watching the news now. Really focus on the issues that can effect you in years to come. Think about who you want running your country.

Register

Research information about how to register. Make sure you can register in the college town you are living in, even if it isn’t your hometown. If you look into this now, you won’t have to worry a week before election day about how you are going to vote. Talk to your parents and ask them what the easiest way to vote would be. Remember you must register before you can vote. Before you vote, make sure that you have registered either by calling or checking online. There is nothing worse than going to vote on election day and finding out that you aren’t registered!

Debate

Maybe you are scared to talk about politics because it seems taboo to tell anyone what your political status is. Don’t let this scare you out of expressing your opinion. Talk to someone you know, and trust, about issues that you are confused about, or ones that you want a fresh perspective on. Some people who might be of help are your parents, other family members, professors, and friends. These people will most likely be willing to talk about issues with you in a friendly and light-hearted manner. Try to avoid super opinionated people who will try and manipulate your words and pounce on your opinion.

Voting may seem scary and too adult-like for you, but it’s not. Look at it as an opportunity to really be involved with the nation in making an important decision. Our country is founded on a democracy and we should be thankful for that every single day. Just remember the lines to our star spangled banner: you live in the “home of the brave!”

About the Author

Meagan Hollman works for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers is an academic assistant for those who want to start going back to school. What they do is help people find the best and online schools they can choose from to get to where they always wanted to go.

 

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What Happened to our Yankee Spirit, and What Will You Leave Behind?

My good friend Missy just posted a few photos of what had happened to her old favorite “Brainard Pool” in Ohio.  She returned home to find it is now a bathhouse and splash park.  Under her FaceBook comments I read one of her friends comments: OMG! I heard the same thing happened to Quarry. :(

Yesterday, riding back from the Giants game at AT&T Park ( which used to be  PacBell park, but at least it’s still there) I passed the Belmont theater.  God knows how many hundreds of hours I spent there as a kid.  It was where I had to watch for the first time some guy actually making out with a (yick) girl!  It is now a Planet Granite, whatever that is.  We continued on past Bruce Bower lumber, long since a vacant lot.  The train can be kind of a depressing, at least nostalgic.  Having grown up here, sitting on the upper deck allows me full view of El Camino Real (the main drag if you will) from my home town almost up to San Francisco.  It is amazing what a trip down memory lane that is.  Mile after mile of stores that are no more.  For some reason they actually swapped the locations of the Macy’s and Sears at Hillsdale shopping center.  That seemed odd to me, and for once it is fairly certain that this was not brought about by a senior moment, or alcohol induced Alzheimer’s.

This change is probably all for the best, and certainly unavoidable, but it does cause one to wonder just what it is that we are doing that will remain as our legacy.  Sales records, profits, successful product launches, all forms of recognized business success seem to pall under the harsh judge of father time.  Our best intentions and inventions seem to fall by the wayside as company after company fails or is acquired by a behemoth like Apple, Google, or Microsoft.  Our reputations are as good as gold, as long as we are in front of the right people.

Lately I have been digging into the old Ulrich family tree.  I was able to get lots of information on the family in old Russia, dating back to the  great great “whatever” being the right hand man to one of the Romanovs.  There is plenty of data on the Springfield Ulrich’s that were buddies with Abraham Lincoln while he was a budding attorney, then as president.  I was able to find the old town in Montana, “Two Dot” where my dad spent his childhood.  These places still exist.  That’s a good sign.

No wonder the Mormon’s refer to one’s children and grand-children as “posterity.”  When it comes right down to it that may be all we really have.  What kind of “posterity” are you building professionally?  Are you able to do something that you really love or are you just paying bills?  It seems that America was founded by people who had dreams and passions that we somehow have had eroded.

There are still the inventors and innovators, the dreamers and visionaries that will lead us into the next “industrial” revolution, but there are also the blind capitalists.  I’m not saying this is wrong.  My good friend Rob came to me with a business plan and proposal last week for a company that wants to perform a certain service on the web.  Their goal in life is to provide this service well enough to be acquired within three years and have all of the investors return 5x on their money.  At the time it really didn’t seem odd to me, as that is what it’s all about, profit, right?  In writing this article, now it seems a bit disappointing.  Let’s sell off the company so the buyer can liquidate the assets and divisions and fire all the workers so we can “outsource” the functional business units that are still profitable.

What happened to that great Yankee ingenuity that wanted to do something great because it is fun to do, were good at it, and we love doing it?  If we are going to weather these recessions (and I believe we will) and “come back” on a global economic scale, I really think that this is the attitude that will get us there.

Don’t quit dreaming out there.  You have great ideas, a great spirit, and a great opportunity.  Yes, I am a sentimental old hokie, but I still believe that America is a land of opportunity.

 

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Empathy; According to Barack Obama

Regardless of your politics, I think we can all learn from this.  This is taken from pp 80-81 of his book –  The Audacity of Hope.

“…it was in my relationship with my grandfather that I think I internalized the full meaning of empathy.  Because my mother’s work took her overseas, I often lived with my grandparents during my high school years, and without a father present in the house, my grandfather bore the brunt of much of my adolescent rebellion.  He himself was not always easy to get along with; he was at once warmhearted and quick to anger, and in part because his career had not been particularly successful, his feelings could also be easily bruised.  By the time  I was sixteen we were arguing all the time, usually about me failing to abide by what I considered to be an endless series of petty and arbitrary rules – filling up the gas tank whenever I borrowed his car, say, or making sure that I rinsed out the milk carton before I put it in the garbage.

With a certain talent for rhetoric, as well as an absolute certainty about the merits of my own views, I found that I could generally win these arguments, in the narrow sense of leaving my grandfather flustered, angry, and sounding unreasonable.  But at some point, perhaps in my senior year, such victories started to feel less satisfying.  I started thinking about the struggles and disappointments he had seen in his life.  I started to appreciate his need to feel respected in his own home.  I realized that abiding by his rules would cost me little, but to him it would mean a lot.  I recognized that sometimes he really did have a point, and that in insisting on getting my own way all the time, without regard to his feelings or needs, I was in some way diminishing myself.”

Authors note:  Being right is only half the battle, sometimes less.  If we learn to care about those around us and truly strive to do the next right thing, we all win.  It is easy, and often a very hollow feeling, to bully through an argument or confrontation only to find that the matter could have far more easily been addressed with cooperation and loving-kindness.  Of this I have been guilty far too often.  Thank you for reminding me, Mr. President.

 

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