Monday, September 17, 2012

Election Time is Near Again

I'll admit it, I love my DVR! I love it because it lets me skip over commercials and get back to important stuff like Army Wives and Big Bang Theory (don't judge). I love it even more come election time. I realized this earlier this evening as I watched "regular TV" while waiting for dinner to finish cooking. I was assaulted by three political ads in one 2 minute commercial break. One was advocating for a state proposal, the next against another proposal, and lastly a congress member vying for re-election.

Now, I love politics and have some pretty strong feelings about the subject, but I keep that information private, just like I keep my vote.

I don't want to try to sway you for or against any candidate or proposal, lord knows there is enough of that going around. However, in this season of ├╝ber propaganda I want to challenge you to do some leg work, research of you will.

I challenge you to first, make sure you are registered to vote and know where your polling location is.

Second, I dare you to check out your local ballot, most are available online See who is running for what office and what proposals or millages are there.

Third, google the candidates, see where they stand on issues important to you. If the are the incumbent, check out their voting record, do they vote for the issues you care about? Or do they vote for their own personal agenda? What about their attendance; are they even there to cast their vote? These people are representing YOU! You need to know where they stand.

Next, I challenge you to research those ballot proposals and millages. I know, they are full of legal mumbo-jumbo, but look for plain, layman's terms extracts. Ballot proposals can be small changes, like a local watering ordinance, or can be huge game changers, like an amendment to the state constitution. And those millages, what is it going to fund, or who. You don't know if you don't read.

My final challenge is to go out on November 6th, stand in line at the poll (with your photo ID), and cast your ballot knowing that you are making an informed decision about the future of your community, your state, your nation.

Good night and God bless!
MLO

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Reflecting on 11 years

Twelve years ago yesterday I stepped into the Lansing Military Entrance Processing Center (MEPS) and began my journey in the military. Shortly thereafter I enlisted in the Army.

Eleven years ago I was an Army Reservist working part time at Sears and attending Delta College in Saginaw, MI. I woke up that morning to find that terrorists had hijacked four planes. Two of the planes were used to attack the World Trade Center in New York, NY destroying both towers. One more had slammed into the Pentagon in Washington DC.  The final plane had crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after the passengers had displayed extreme bravery and fought to regain control of the plane from the hijackers.

I spent the night of 9-11-2001 working at the Reserve Center in Bay City, MI answering phone calls and wondering what our nations response was going to be to this heinous act. My friends and comrades in the military and I were all ready to defend our nations honor just the same way that our fathers and grandfathers had in 1941. We firmly believed, then and now, that an attack on our nation must be answered swiftly and surely.

In February 2003, I became a part of that response as I was activated to deploy to Turkey to form part of the invasion in Iraq. Turkey however did not agree to that plan, so I and my company were stood down. I was reactivated again in December 2001 and did deploy to Iraq. I have not written much about my experiences in Iraq and Kuwait. Some things are still just to vivid and painful even after 8 years. I promise that I will write about it someday.

Today, however, I pause to reflect on where I am now and where we are as a nation. I am proud to know that in any time of disaster whether it be hurricane, flood or terrorist attack, Americans will always band together and help each other. That is what makes us great.  I am proud to be a Veteran of the United States Military. I am proud of my brothers and sisters in arms, may God protect and keep you all safe. I am proud to be an American Citizen, the United States of America is still the only country I want to call home.

Amen.