BY SHARON MARTIN
Because he died in Europe in World War II, my uncle, Lawrence Edge, has a bridge in Atoka County named for him. How many people who cross that bridge on SH 69 understand what it represents? Lawrence gave up a promising future for an idea, freedom.
Nathan Hale was as young as my Uncle Lawrence when he sacrificed himself. Legend says that he regretted having only one life to give for his country. Freedom costs. It costs to gain it, and it requires something from all of us to maintain it. What a shame if the Lawrence Edges and the Nathan Hales of the world gave their all for nothing. We have a responsibility to make sure freedom is more than just an idea. This is a call to action.
Voting is one obligation, but voters must do their homework first. Don’t depend on a media personality or your minister to tell you how to vote. Look beyond hot-button hype and see a candidate’s whole platform. Hot-button issues have two jobs – to push your buttons and to hide the real agenda.
Voting isn’t enough. We must educate ourselves on the issues and make it clear to our representatives how we want them to vote on legislation. If their voting record doesn’t reflect our values, it’s our responsibility to kick them out come next election.
Paying taxes is an obligation, and we all should pay our share. If certain corporations are exempt because they contribute to the campaigns of their bought and paid-for candidates, the rest of us have to take up the slack. Being poor doesn’t exempt one from paying taxes, and neither should being rich. In fact, with sales taxes hovering at 10% and dozens of taxes disguised as fees, the poor in this state often pay a larger percentage of their income than do the rich folks. That’s an issue to take to your representatives.
Demand that expenditures reflect your values. Our hard-won dollars should not pay profits for a politician’s buddies. Rather, our taxes should come back to us in first-rate education, state-of-the-art healthcare, solid bridges, good roads, safe food, and security.
Don’t let sound bites and button pushers cloud your thinking. Be aware of the real issues and take the responsibility to act on your convictions. Uncle Lawrence gave his life for the idea. Taking an active role in keeping alive the freedom he and others gave their lives for is the least we can do.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer