Lanterns: A New Year's Pledge to Readers


A New Year's Pledge to Readers

I love and hate politics.

I've had the bug since high school, and time has only intensified the itch, but at times, I can hardly take another minute. Those times invariably pass, and I'm drawn back into the fray; I really can't help myself. Outside of my personal and family lives, nothing is as important. Politics, Governance, Law -- these are the foundations of our world-  the rules upon which we build individual lives and seek our fortunes.

There are many in our country who cannot be bothered with the ways and means of running the country, or the actions of those we send to represent us.  They believe politics are confusing, time-consuming, and ultimately, a waste of time. They assume they have no power to change anything, that the system is rigged, and politicians are all lying crooks. I agree it's tough to argue with these sentiments a lot of the time.

To my mind, that's our fault-  yours and mine. The system is ours, and the politicians are the people we've chosen to be our representatives. If the system is rigged, or if we don't have influence, it's by our choosing. Approximately 60% of those eligible show up to vote in Presidential Elections, while about 40% turnout for midterms. Far fewer cast votes in odd-year, primary, and local races-  pretty bad statistics for "the land of the free, and the home of the brave," and truly a travesty.

Sadly, this is understandable. We've strayed far from the framework provided by our incredibly prescient founders. The more I learn about the framers, their vision for the experiment we're living, and the documents they collaborated on to start the proverbial ball rolling-  the more I realize how amazing and enlightened they were. In just 200 years, their crazy idea brought forth a nation that provided the freest, the fairest, and the most powerful country ever to exist in the history of planet Earth.

The idea of America has made it the place people want to live, to take shelter from storms in every corner of the world. We are a nation of immigrants with a common hope: to build our businesses and raise our families free from caste or persecution. This is the place where everyone has an equal chance to change their circumstances and fulfill their dreams. We've poured in from the world over, sharing our cultures, our religions, our flaws, and strengths -- building the melting pot that became the world's superpower.

The United States of America has had growing pains, and there's been a stiff learning curve. Through it all, our people managed to move forward, pushing the envelope and striving for excellence; our people have found their destinies, and made our country the envy of the world. It didn't happen by accident; it happened by design.

My goal for 2017 is to continue learning and writing about the birth of our nation and its promise. I will continue to advocate for a return to guiding principles in furtherance of the founders' mission. Our country is still in its infancy in many respects. Mistakes have been, and will continue to be made.  We've all heard many times, that freedom is not free.  Many of us are blessed with having been born on this soil, while others have striven to accomplish the goal of coming here and following their dreams. There is a responsibility incumbent upon each of us to become informed about our beginnings, to learn from our failures, and to engage in the process of Liberty. To that end, I pledge to inform and educate to the best of my ability, and to serve and protect the Constitution of the United States of America in the coming year. It is my sincere hope and wish that you will join me.

God bless you, and God bless our great nation.

Written by Julie Custer

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