CYNTHIA BOND HOPSEN

Wednesday was the first day of early voting in most states, and I am happy this day finally arrived.

What I’m really longing for is Nov. 4, the day after the election, when all the trauma and drama should be over. At least, I pray it will be.

Never has there been such doubt, uncertainty and uproar around this simple but powerful act of citizenship.

Since the Voting Rights Act of 1964 and 1965, access to the polls has been a long-fought-for right for U.S. citizens, and while we don’t always exercise it with the commitment we ought, it still is one of our most important and treasured rights.

Over the past few years, we have helplessly watched state legislatures chip away at extended early voting dates, increasing voter identification requirements and reducing the numbers of early voting sites.

And now our president and members of his cabinet are casting dispersions on voting by mail, though there seems to be no proof that fraud has occurred.

These assaults made me wary, since I’ve never voted by mail or absentee, but I researched processes and checked everything possible to ensure my vote will arrive safely and be counted.

Wednesday, I was three miles past ready to cast my vote.

I pray we have all come to understand how serious and deadly this virus is and, even as restrictions are lifted, I pray we are still socially distancing and wearing masks when we are out and about early voting and doing other tasks.

I was disappointed that President Donald Trump would not agree to modification of rules for this week’s debate, since his performance was termed “annoying” by a majority of poll respondents after the first round.

Respondents said they gained very little information from the constant sniping and interruptions, and I decided early on that if that format were repeated, I wouldn’t touch the next debate with a 10-foot pole.

 I was anxious for the candidates to face the chosen undecided voters this week who would question them.

I had every confidence the real voters would have held them to a higher standard than moderator Chris Wallace was able to do. Alas, we won’t get that opportunity.

Voting is one of the most important things we as citizens do. Listening to the candidates and being well informed is critical — we need to hear well thought-out plans and goals, succinctly and uninterrupted.

When we do, we make good choices and get the government we need and deserve.

Candidates who lie, distort the truth, misrepresent their opponents’ records, pander for their own gratification, who long for power and prestige for the sake of it, have no place in our local, state or national government.

We, the people, the voters, the Jims and Ednas of the world, must sift through the rhetoric and discern the real deal. Then we must vote like our lives depend on it.

 

ADOPT A SHELTER DOG

October is also National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. Shelter dogs are the focus this month; but every month, shelter pets offer unconditional love and care to owners they haven’t met yet.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, shelter pets are a gift to lonely seniors and others who find themselves shut away from families and loved ones.

Sadly, more than 3 to 4 million pets are waiting in shelters for a forever family to come and give them a warm, comfortable home.

These animals include those rescued from puppy mills and breeders who exploit and abuse them in conditions too horrific to describe.

Visit your local shelter today and take home a new forever friend.

 

CYNTHIA A. BOND HOPSON, Ph.D., of Cordova is a native Tennessean, educator, author and mentor. She and her husband, Roger, lived in Paris twice. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook@drbondhopson.

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