A Publication of WTVP

One of the greatest attributes of our country is the fact that we hold free elections for offices across our land. Town mayors, county board members, state, and national officials-these are all determined through regularly scheduled elections. The shining example of this government by the people is the election of our president. Every four years, the whole world looks to the United States as we choose who will lead the greatest nation.

These aren't straw elections like Saddam Hussein held shortly before he was toppled. Our citizens don't go to the polls while being watched over by military officials to see that they vote correctly. Our elections are run by ordinary people, and the results of these elections determine the direction of our towns, counties, states, and the entire country.

After the votes are tallied and the results are determined, we have an orderly process for every office that allows the winners of the elections to take that office. It's amazing to think that throughout more than two and one-quarter centuries, every four years, we've held an election to determine the president of our country. There has never-even during our darkest days of the Civil War-been an interruption in that quadrennial process. Even in the face of the uncertainty that hung over the last presidential election, everything unfolded without military intervention or riots in the streets, things we've seen many times following elections in other countries.

It's amazing to think we can have a complete change in the leadership of our government through a peaceful, orderly process. No battles. No coups. Only citizens casting their ballots at their polling place-that's all it takes to determine our leaders.

This year, we have a tremendously important election that will determine the future of our country. I realize every election is promoted as one of the "most important," but so much has happened since the 2000 election that the importance placed on this election is unlike anything we've seen in decades.

I fully believe President Bush should be re-elected. Since 9/11, his administration has made the security of this nation the top priority, and we haven't been attacked in more than three years. I believe President Bush deserves credit for that fact. I'm not saying we won't be attacked in the future-we very well may be-but in the wake of 9/11, most people thought there would've been another wave of attacks in the United States. The reason we haven't seen additional terrorist attacks is the president and his team of people have done everything in their power to ensure we're safe.

But whether you agree with my assessment of President Bush or not, I urge you to get out and vote on Election Day. It's a basic right you're entitled to as an American citizen, and you shouldn't take it for granted. You should express yourself through the ballot box to help determine the direction of our country. IBI