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2018-11-07 / Columnists

Just Bill

What Happened Yesterday?
Musings from the Mind of Bill Diem

I can only hope

It is 9:00 p.m. Tuesday in California when it’s 6:00 a.m. in Paris on Wednesday. I invited friends to watch CNN with me for an early breakfast today, November 7, hoping to see that the House of Representative has changed hands.

Is Paul Ryan no longer controlling business there? Does the Democratic Party have enough common sense to prevent crazy laws from passing for the next two years? Is there any chance that the Senate is no longer a Republican rubber stamp for President Trump’s choices for Supreme Court nominees?

You all know the answers to that, and I will know by the time this column is in print. We will know how wrong I was two weeks ago, when I predicted that U.S. Representative Jack Bergman would be reelected, and that Washington would hardly change, even if the Democrats won the House.

I was very proud of the Newberry News last week, when it printed the words of all the local candidates (save one by the editor’s mistake) to be shared with the community of readers. I know that Luce County is a better place because it has a country weekly newspaper devoted to its future.

I was also proud of Ruthette Mills, Walt Orlowski and Tom Kenney, who all wrote letters critical of my column with its sad outlook. They all urged people to vote for Matt Morgan for our U.S. Representative, and I did that, but Mills charged that by predicting no real change, I was contributing “to the grumbling of those who say, ‘Why should I vote, nothing gets done anyway?’”

I confess that the last thing I want to do is discourage people from voting. I’m not sure that I would mind if citizens were required to vote, as happens in some countries. It would be pushy, but deciding not to vote is a decision to ignore your community.

It’s also terribly selfish. It ignores all the Americans who have died to protect this country and the rights of its citizens to govern themselves. At the very least, voting gives you the right to complain about our leaders. If you don’t vote, your complaints or praise are hollow.

I was also very proud in late September, when my grandson in Marquette turned 18. I met him at the Secretary of State’s office, we waited in line and he registered to vote. I wish all 18-year-olds were at the polls yesterday.

Maybe the Republican Party has held onto both halves of Congress. Maybe the President is tweeting harsh thoughts. Maybe the immigrant caravan was a bad idea.

There’s no way our immigration and asylum officials could handle that many people at once on the bridges across the Rio Grand. Maybe having 5,000 soldiers at the Mexican border was a bad idea. Unarmed parents and children from Honduras hardly qualify as enemies.

But whatever happened yesterday, I think it’s important for me today to be a good Scout—trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, etc.—and to represent America well to my French neighbors.

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