Your vote is more important than you think

Your vote is more important than you think

Religion and politics! It’s absolutely mind boggling to think that these two words define two things that have the power to destroy friendships, families, and entire nations.  There is nothing more likely to make my blood boil right now than simply turning on my television or my radio.  Even if I just want to get a weather report, I cannot escape the political ads and commentary in my attempt to get some basic information to help me choose whether or not to wear short or long sleeves on any given day.  Thankfully, I have an iPhone so I can take a quick peek at my weather app and avoid the inevitable surge in my blood pressure.

If the candidates would simply stick to what they are going to do, if elected, and leave the negative campaigning where it belongs (the garbage can for those of you who aren’t sure where I’m going with this), then maybe we would actually know what these people stand for and what they might do for us if we vote them into office.

One candidate, in particular, is causing me to come unglued.  No, I’m not referring to the POTUS right now.  I’ll get to him later.  I’m referring to the incumbent congressman in the sixth district of Kentucky, Ben Chandler.  Every single time I turn on the television, he is running a negative ad about his opponent, Andy Barr. Maybe I would ignore his ads like I do all the rest, but I know Andy Barr personally, therefore, it is impossible for me to disregard what is being broadcast in my living room.  I happen to know enough about Andy to know that he is definitely NOT the common criminal and monster that is being portrayed in Congressman Chandler’s ads.

If I had a bzillion dollars to spend on a campaign, I would not spend my money airing false accusations, lies, fabrications, and alterations of what is actually truth.  I would spend my campaign money telling my constituents what I will do for them, should I be elected to office.  It continues to amaze me each time I see one of Ben Chandler’s ads. He continues to stoop lower and lower, which only means one thing.  He is running scared and he is desperate to find a way to win this election. It scares me to think that many people may be sitting at home buying what he is selling!

Despite the negative tone set by Chandler, the ads being aired by Andy Barr are informative and professional.  He spends his campaign dollars to tell us what he will do for us, when elected.  He isn’t wasting campaign donations to tell us about the foolish and arrogant ways of his opponent.  I can’t imagine how hard it is for Andy and his wife to turn on the television and see the garbage being aired by Congressman Chandler, yet Andy refuses to stoop so low in retaliation.  His ads may not tell us everything Andy will do for us as our representative, but they tell me something far more important.  The man has integrity.  With so little of that in Washington right now, I believe we should be paying attention to the subtleties here.

For the past few years, I have been quite involved with several congressional leaders as I have advocated for our wounded warriors.  It’s personal to me because my son is one of them.  Sadly, I’ve never met Congressman Chandler even once, though I have worked with his office staff on a number of occasions.  I would just about bet my life that the man has absolutely NO IDEA that I even exist.  Because I wasn’t getting anywhere with Mr. Chandler, I eventually reached out to representatives in other states.  It was then that I realized the difference between a representative who goes through the motions (or has his staff go through the motions) and a representative who really listens and then steps into action.

Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina demonstrated the actions of a representative who really cares and responds personally to situations, while Chandler defined the representative who lets his staff check the appropriate boxes and move on.  Walter Jones has personally worked countless hours on my son’s case. He has called me numerous times, taken me to lunch, and spent time with my family.  His staff knows me by name and I do not even reside in the state of North Carolina. I can honestly credit the man with saving my son’s life. (Caught your interest? Dig into my blog. The story is here.)

Now that I truly understand the difference between the representative who will put my child’s life as his priority and work for me, and the one who doesn’t even bother to learn of my existence, I desperately want to make sure that my vote counts.

I want to vote for someone who will actually give me the time of day when I need representation, which is why I will be casting my vote for Andy Barr.  He will take the time to get to know his constituents. He really listens and he really cares.  How do I know?  Because he has taken the time to get to know me and is very informed about the struggles faced by my son and other wounded warriors.  He spent time listening and learning about our experiences. He asked a lot of questions and he honestly wants to do whatever he can to make the system better for our nation’s veterans. He cared enough to include me in a group of advisors and consultants on the issues faced by our veterans and their families.  He realizes that, while I am a civilian, I am also a caregiver and family member to one who has worn the uniform.  He has enough sense to recognize that I can offer a well-needed and important perspective to wounded warrior care. Further more, he appreciates the freedoms he has as an American and he wants to ensure that those who made it possible for him, as well as their family members, are heard.

I’m no one special.  I’m just the mom of one of our nation’s disabled veterans, but Andy Barr cares about moms,  he cares about our children, and he cares about our veterans.   Recently he met my parents at an event, and when he realized the connection, he asked about my son by name!  I don’t have to be famous or rich to get his attention or be remembered.  I know that if I need him, he will personally take my call and he will personally ensure that the necessary action is taken. I feel confident that he will do the same for you!

I can’t say the same for Congressman Ben Chandler.  I have no indication that he cares one bit about me or my son, though he has had plenty of opportunities to prove it.

I have one vote and so do you.  If this race is as close as it was two years ago, YOUR ONE VOTE might make all the difference in the outcome.  You owe it to yourself and your family members to get to know the candidates and vote for the one who you can honestly count on. Please don’t use political ads as your guide of education. You never know when YOU might be the one who wakes up to a crisis and needs the help of your congressman.  Who do you want on your team?  I’m going to vote for the one who will make that 911 call with me.

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