Stand FOR Something or Take a Seat

The past several weeks have been a busy time for Americans. We have provided aid and support to those affected by super storm Sandy, re-elected our President and Vice-President and honored our veterans this past Monday on Veterans Day.

Now with the holidays looming on the horizon, our schedules should get even crazier with holiday parties, shopping and family gatherings. It should be a time for celebration, a time for renewal, and a time for thanks giving, joy and hope. However, I just don’t sense the traditional holiday spirit this year.

Maybe it is the hangover from the presidential campaign, or the growing unrest with the direction of the country that may have taken the air out of the holiday balloon. Speaking of the election, there were more than 207 million U.S. citizens eligible to vote in the 2012 presidential election. However, only 150 million were registered to vote, and roughly 118 million people actually voted.

So, what were the rest of you eligible and registered voters doing on Election Day?

If you do the math, it reflects that only about 57% of the eligible voters took time out of their busy lives to vote. Granted, most of us were relieved when the campaign activities had finally run their course. We were glad to put an end to the political rhetoric, candidate bashing and long running negative political ads. However, the acrimony did not end with the election. The division and unrest are now building new momentum with succession petitions being filed post-election in more than 30 states.

How does this help solve America’s problems and bring people together? What our country needs is less finger pointing, blame placing, antagonists and conspiracy theorists, and more leaders who can stand for something. We need new leadership capable of making a difference and moving the country in a positive direction, rather than just standing against the opposition.

My dad was “old school” and pretty clear on his position when it came to exercising your right to vote. When there was a political debate of any kind within earshot, dad would always respond by asking, “Did you vote? If not, then you don’t get to express your opinion.” For my dad and many of his generation, voting was not just a right granted to them as U.S. citizens, but a privilege and an obligation to help build a better America.

Dad took a very similar position when it came to expressing dissatisfaction with the way our country was being run. He would say, “If you are not happy with the way things are going, then stop complaining and do something to improve the situation, or leave. There are airplanes departing daily to the country of your choice. So just pick a destination, buy a ticket and leave. Find out for yourself if things are better somewhere else.” Good advice for those who cannot seem to find their “happy place” here.

The veterans we honor both past and present each Veterans Day should be examples to all of us of those who have served this great nation with pride, courage, honor and sacrifice. We need leaders who can offer meaningful solutions to our country’s challenges and are willing to work together despite their differences. We need leaders who share a renewed level of commitment to the values and principles our veterans lived and died for in order to protect our freedom and help make America a great nation.

It’s time for each of us to do some soul searching, too. Each of us needs to decide if we are committed to providing the dedicated leadership required to help each other and our country get back on the right path. It is time for every American to stand for something or take a seat.

These are a few of my thoughts. What is your opinion? Please feel free to share your opinion, if you are one of the 118 million people who voted in this year’s presidential election (I’m old school, too).


COPYRIGHT © 2012 John Carroll