by Richard G. Johnstone Jr., Exec. Editor

Richard Johnstone


... your principles, your pocketbook, your politics or your passion. Vote for the better candidate, whether you think the field is desirable, or leaves a lot to be desired. In this and every election season, no matter the reason, it’s

crucial that citizens exercise this basic right.


On Nov. 5th, Virginians will elect 100 fellow citizens to represent them for two-year terms in the House of Delegates, as well as a new governor, lieutenant

governor, and attorney general. No matter how few, or how many, registered voters show up at the polls and vote, these 103 state offices will be filled.

We hope you will be among those who exercise your right to help determine these outcomes.

It’s a right that a majority of the world’s residents don’t possess. It’s a right the Founding Fathers (and Mothers) pledged their lives, their liberty and their honor to make possible. It’s a right that subsequent generations of Americans, up to and including the present day, have put life and limb at risk to preserve.


Yet, sadly, it’s a right only about half of us exercise, our absence often explained by inclement weather, white-hot anger at petty partisanship, weary resignation over an assumed outcome, or cynicism as to the relevance of any outcome. 


Please, though, don’t let anger or apathy be your guiding light. Let your involvement honor a remarkable process put in place over 220 years ago, a process whose success hinges on average people getting involved deeply in the issues of the day, and electing representatives that they believe are most qualified to convert good ideas into sound public policy.


So, if you’re satisfied with the incumbent, vote. If you prefer the challenger, vote. If you’re satisfied, or dissatisfied, with all the choices, make a difficult decision and vote.


Vote your conscience; vote your values; vote your interests. But the important thing, the crucial thing, the imperative thing for each of us, as citizens, is to participate in the process. To express our views through the ballot. To vote.


The media and the politicos may influence, but don’t determine, who runs the Commonwealth. You do. So make your voice heard. Speak out. Do so by engaging in this most basic right of a free people, the right to vote.


Be sure to exercise this right on Nov. 5. It’s a right that’s been eloquently addressed by some great thinkers over the years, so we herewith share some choice quotes gleaned from across the political spectrum, the globe, and the centuries.


“Government is too big and important to be left to the politicians.”


— Chester Bowles, 20th-century American business leader and diplomat.


“Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories.”


— Thomas Jefferson, Virginian, 3rd U.S. president, statesman, philosopher, inventor, architect and founder of The University of Virginia.


“Do the unexpected. Take 20 minutes out of your day, do what young people all over the world are dying to do: vote.”


— Rick Mercer, contemporary Canadian humorist and political observer.


“The most important political office is that of the private citizen.”


— Louis Brandeis, early 20th-century U.S. Supreme Court justice and legal scholar.


“Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong.”


— Richard Armour, 20th-century literary scholar and writer of popular light verse.


“Mankind will never see an end of trouble until ... lovers of wisdom come to hold political power, or the holders of power ... become lovers of wisdom.”


— Plato, ancient Greek philosopher and founder of the first institution of higher learning in the Western World. 



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