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\”Country\” – Word of the Week

Definition of the word of the week (COUNTRY): The love a patriot feels for his or her nation and the willingness to be a contributing citizen.

This week is the General Election and every American worthy of the title will vote his or her conscience. We are fortunate here in Baldwin County because we support the Kids Vote program that allows school age children to vote alongside their parents. As one might imagine, the children’s vote often mirrors their parents’ views. But, that is a good thing because it shows that this important aspect of citizenship is being discussed in the home. If you have not talked about the election in your home, please do so. It is important.

Perhaps you are like my father who was a “party man.” Anyone who ran on the Democrat ticket got his vote. I have also known people who did the same thing for the Republican ticket. As long as one is voting consistently with one’s conscience, I say “go for it.” Personally, I take another view. My father, God rest his soul, would probably accuse me a being a traitor but I am not a party man.

Unlike a primary election, in the General Election one can vote back and forth across party lines. I have found that neither party has all of the answers for which I am looking. Each party has specific items on their platform with which I agree and each party has specific items on their platform with which I disagree, sometimes vehemently. In that situation, what is one to do? I suggest that you examine the various issues that each party advocates and find the ones that interests you the most and then cast your ballot.

But, if you choose not to vote, then you will have lost your voice and abdicated your responsibility as a citizen of this great nation. If you choose not to vote then, for the next four years, shut up.

American author and journalist, John Gunther once wrote, “Ours is the only country deliberately founded on a good idea.” Each of us has a responsibility to keep that good idea moving forward.

The following quotations are intended to assist in explaining and exemplifying the word of the week:

What this country needs is more free speech worth listening to. Hansell Duckett

The level of the development of a country is determined, in considerable part, by the level of development of its people’s intelligence. Luis Machado

America is a young country with an old mentality. George Santayana

The biggest difference between ancient Rome and the USA is that in Rome the common man was treated like a dog. In America, he sets the tone. This is the first country where the common man could stand erect. I.F. Stone, author

If you don’t know how great this country is, I know someone who does; Russia. Robert Frost

God grant that not only the love of liberty but a thorough knowledge of the rights of man may pervade all the nations of the earth, so that a philosopher may set his foot anywhere on its surface and say: This is my country! Benjamin Franklin

If you lead a country like Britain, a strong country, a country that has taken a lead in world affairs in good times and in bad, a country that is always reliable, then you have to have a touch of iron about you. Margaret Thatcher

Let the people know the truth and the country is safe. Abraham Lincoln

I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America. Alexis De Tocqueville

On the education of the people of this country the fate of the country depends. Benjamin Disraeli, British prime minister

Patriotism is easy to understand in America; it means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country. Calvin Coolidge

My country right or wrong; when right, to keep her right; when wrong, to put her right. Carl Schurz, Senator

Love of country is the expansion of dutiful love. D.D. Field

A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government. Edward Abbey

LTC Patrick Beer, the Dean of Students and Commandant of Cadets at Georgia Military College, prepares this study guide each week as part of the institution’s character education program. He welcomes comments and suggestions from readers. He can be contacted by phone, 478-445-2710 or by email, pbeer@gmc.cc.ga.us