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Voice of the voters is critical on Nov. 4

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 | 10:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:37 a.m. CST, Wednesday, February 4, 2009

There is no editorial board at the Missourian. There is no one who tells me what or not to write. I am on my own. So the opinions stated here are mine and mine alone. If you happen to agree with me, that's good. If not, better. When you comment, pro or con, well that's the best.

Readers of my weekly tirades, I assume there are more than a dozen of you now, understand I am a "Blue Dog" Democrat. So it should be no surprise that I support Barack Obama for president, Judy Baker for Missouri's 9th Congressional District and Chuck Graham for state senator. I might vote for Sarah Palin for "Official U.S. Cheerleader."  

For the last week, this newspaper has run columns concerning the possible effects of the national election on Columbia and Boone County. In fact, the problems we are experiencing in the middle of Middle America cannot be fixed by one man or woman alone. Change is a team effort, and any chance of moving forward might just be stonewalled by the infighting in the halls of Congress.  

Many believe that the new president, whether McCain or Obama, can effect change in our little corner of the world. I hate to break your bubble: no he can't. Not alone.

There are fewer than 540 elected officials in our national government. They represent two parties along with a couple of independents. They are supposed to work together, but they don't. No single official can change anything in Congress or on the executive level without working with the entire team. "Teamwork" is not in the vocabulary of partisan politics.

This was the subject of a conversation I had recently with a colleague. He asked if no one person can change the system, why vote? The answer: One man, Mahatma Gandhi, influenced with his voice, but it took thousands to voice the same concerns and make change happen. We can do the same.

Vote on Nov. 4.  

After the most recent presidential debate, a friend told me, in no uncertain terms, that she felt hopeless and believed her single voice meant nothing. Yet, she and her husband were angry about the federal "bailout" package. Your voice means nothing if you do not state your opinion openly. Your voice will be heard if you only take a little time to act.

Join your political party, whether mainstream or third party, like the Greens or the Libertarians. Although the little organizations do not hold a majority in state or federal chambers of government, they do influence the way the majority thinks and votes.

Seek out your political party's weekly meetings. I did, and within a month, I had met some of the most influential people in the state. I had conversations with former and current state and federal elected officials concerning some of the most pressing issues on my agenda. They listened. You can do the same.

Write letters to the editor of this and the other local newspaper. Or to a national publication such as The New York Times. If well written, it might be published. Our politicians read the Op-Ed pages, monitoring the opinion of their community. They "hear the voices."

Write officials who are dealing with issues of concern. For example, the rescue package is a federal issue, so I hand-delivered letters to Missouri's senators and the current representatives and candidates for the 9th Congressional District. Education is a state issue, so letters were mailed to state elected officials. Your voice will heard and will influence.

As members of the electorate, we have the power to influence the direction of our elected officials. It is really up to us. A new president and Congress, a new governor and legislature will be elected in the next month. If you haven't yet, get your pens ready. It's your voice; make it heard and the 2008 elections will have an impact on the middle of Middle America.

David Rosman is a business and political communications consultant, professional speaker and instructor at Columbia College. He welcomes your comments at ProfDave1011@netscape.net.


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