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With election looming, think it all through

Baby boomers — and perhaps their children — probably can recall when it was not uncommon for their elementary school teachers to recommend “put on your thinking cap” when they were about to begin a test or embark on some subject matter.

In this age of computers, that particular bit of verbal instruction has been relegated to the status of relic-of-the-past but, even at this time, it nonetheless remains relevant — amid the current national divisiveness and bitter presidential election campaign, neither of which is enhancing America’s image at home or abroad.

Indeed, the advice to “put on your thinking cap” probably can be described as being more important during this presidential election cycle than it has been during any other campaign over the last half-century, no doubt longer.

Everyone needs to be pondering what is at stake, short term and long term, depending on the outcome of the Nov. 3 balloting. Waiting until the proverbial last minute to try to mentally sort out the issues before the nation, or simply voting on the basis of political party affiliation, without giving any thought to anything else, would merit categorization as a dangerous abdication of citizenship responsibility.

This observation should not be construed as leaning toward one of the major political parties or the other. It applies both ways, as well as to independents and anyone else old enough to be participating in the election process.

Indeed, those who decide not to vote, for whatever reason, will be guilty of shirking one of the most basic responsibilities of their citizenship, as well as their good fortune of having the opportunity to live in a nation so good and powerful, built upon the foundation put in place by the founding fathers.

Those leaders nearly 250 years ago were not perfect, but they had a vision, as well as the determination, that properly set this nation’s course in motion, and such vision and determination must continue, going forward, regardless of the outcome of Nov. 3.

The bitterness, divisiveness and outright hatred that exists today must cease. It must be replaced by civility and respect for one another, regardless of opposing opinions and philosophy.

If not, the basic point of the cover article of the January-February 2018 issue of Atlantic magazine will be in danger of coming true.

That extensive article was based on the belief and observation that Russian president Vladimir Putin’s main objective is not to attack America, which would put the whole planet in jeopardy. Instead, the article suggests, Putin’s intent is to make the United States seem ordinary, not world leader or anything close to that.

Such an outcome would open a window for expanding his power and influence over many other nations — perhaps over a much broader scale than what the former Soviet Union maintained for too many years.

So, what does what’s happening today all mean? It means that every American old enough to understand the issues facing this country must put on his or her “thinking cap.”

Think about the issues in general. Think about what is important to you and your future. Acknowledge that your decision on Nov. 3 should be based on what you perceive as this nation’s short- and long-term well-being, as well as your own.

Put on that proverbial thinking cap that is within everyone’s reach. Keep yourself from being sorry, months or years from now, that you didn’t.

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