Study the candidates and vote

Geri Benedict, resident of Magalia for the last 15 years, very active politically with her husband, though that was never in their retirement plans

The greatest gift I have ever received was being born in the United States. At the age of 13, upon the end of World War II, the whole world knew how lucky I was to be an American. So my life has always reflected my love for my country. As an adult, knowing I was to remain in my own community and state of California, my efforts to serve my country were through my community. In my wildest imagination writing a commentary about politics was not even a tiny thought. However, that is exactly what I have sat down to do.

Never could I have believed I would see our leaders turn this wonderful country into a monarchy-like republic, with only wealthy aristocrats and the poor. Yet that is where we are heading all too quickly.

Even our California Board of Regents is looking at ways to make more cuts that will keep all but the rich from our colleges and universities.

This is unbelievable!

Nearly 3 million jobs lost since 2000, and 3.8 million people have lost their health insurance for a total of 44 million and rising. Each week some 80,000 to 90,000 Americans lose their extended unemployment benefits. This takes them off the unemployed list. But they still have no jobs! The “supposed” rise in employment is really the reverse! Millions are just not being counted any more.

The projected $5 trillion surplus in 2000 has become a $5 trillion projected deficit. This is a deficit to be passed on to our children. It has already drained resources from health, education and environmental programs.

The war in Iraq has taken money once committed to many other areas. It has cut federal funds for first responders by 18 percent; cut grants to states’ bio-terrorism prevention by 10 percent; cut funds for port security improvements by nearly two-thirds; cut federal assistance to state and local law enforcement by $1 billion. This does not sound like a government that is serious about homeland security to me!

This reckless endangerment of our country must end. It goes beyond politics and does lasting damage to our way of life and our future as a nation.

I would plead that everyone of voting age register to vote in November 2004. Then study all candidates and their policies before making a choice and inform themselves on all ballot propositions before voting.

Our system of voting is the only chance we have to save our nation and our way of life.

Start your education now and vote in November 2004. It is up to us!