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Points Between

By next Wednesday morning, most of it will be over.

The commercials, advertisements, campaign signs and other election trappings will be old news. Some folks in our community will be smiling. Others won't be so happy. Such is the fallout of election day.

I've never been good at prestidigitation. I know - for the most part - who I'm going to vote for (or in the case of the Sunday alcohol sales question, how I'm going to vote). Sure, I have an idea who I think is going to win. But until the ballots are counted, that doesn't matter.

What I can tell you is this: Of the dozen or so (some folks on the ballot aren't really, uh, running) candidates running for various seats on the McDuffie County Board of Education, four will be elected - even if it takes a run-off. That leaves a handful of candidates who I hope will not abandon the commitment they want to make to students in McDuffie County.

Even if they are not serving on the Board of Education, they should turn their energy toward volunteering in schools or mentoring to at-risk students. One person - just like one vote - can make a difference. Just ask the students who have had someone take an interest in their lives. More telling, ask the kids who haven't.

Meanwhile, I have a request for those who are elected to the Board of Education, and those retaining their seats. Each race has its share of candidates with axes to grind or agendas to hide. Please remember that you are being elected to serve the best interests of the thousands of students who sit in McDuffie County's classrooms and the hundreds of teachers and staff entrusted with their education. So here's my appeal: Please don't be a rubber-stamp board member. Ask questions, and then make up your mind. Don't let who is supporting or presenting an idea make the decision for you.

On a larger level, we'll know who will be our next president next Wednesday morning. Like many Americans, I'll spend the next few days trying to decide between the lesser of two evils: A presidential candidate entrenched in the gridlock of Washington whose running mate's persona outweighs their experience; or a presidential candidate whose persona outweighs their experience, with a running mate who is entrenched in the gridlock of Washington.

Cynical? Yep.

If there is one thing I've learned in the last eight years, it's this: Republicans don't have all the answers, and neither do Democrats. In fact, I'm not sure many of the people in Washington even know the questions.

That's where we come in. Beyond our responsibility to vote on Tuesday (or before), we must also commit to making government work - whether it be on the local, state or national level.

It's easy to sit back and complain about what elected officials are doing or won't do. Heck, that's an American tradition in itself. But to take the extra step and try to make a difference, that's what our country is really about.

Web posted on Thursday, October 30, 2008

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