It appears, from very early returns and exit polls, that Barak Obama will be the 44th president of the United States. This is an historic day. Despite my hating to hear people use this phrase indiscriminately, in this case it is true. The people of the United States appear to have elected a person who is not of 100% European extraction. For the first time.

Recognizing that returns that are counted later this week — and next week — could change the outcome (as I write this fewer than 50% of all ballots had been counted), my heart says the reported results are probably correct. The news media have “got it wrong” before…

NOW comes the real test of my fellow citizens: can we work together now to address the pressing issues, to rectify the failed policies of the current administration, to regain our standing around the world as a true leader?

If you voted, good for you. If you didn’t, and you were registered, I hope next time you will vote. If you were eligible to vote, but not registered, I urge you to take the first available opportunity and get registered. In my own opinion, LOCAL races are the most important — the ones that have the most immediate, most personal meaning for citizens. And local elections are held frequently, annually at a minimum, even up to three times a year sometimes in our area. Most actual “seats” — the offices to which people are elected — are elected every two to six years. But there is generally at least one office on the main ballot for the year.

And there are usually levies for the local schools as well. Remember, our country’s future — and the comfort of your retirement someday — depend on the youth being educated properly. Even if you are not (never have been, never will be) a parent, consider the people who cook the food in the restaurants, the people who drive the trucks and handle public transportation… consider the nurses who will administer medication, the judges who will decide legal issues, the scientists who may (or might not) find a cure for your aches and pains. The good work of these people depends on good education. And good education depends on the support of the communities schools are found in. [Please note, this is also a plug for you to MENTOR youth, to VOLUNTEER to help the schools – in the classrooms or in fundraisers, to BE PRESENT in the life of a child, an adolescent or a young adult.]

Stepping off my soapbox now…

Congratulations, U.S.A.! Record numbers turned out to vote despite long lines, bad weather and other obstacles. Democracy in action.

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