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Vote Smart or Bust!

11 August 2016

I broke a promise made to Carter, Ford and dozens of others who had an idea long ago that has become Vote Smart. I had promised to bury my politics into the darkest, deepest, never to be heard from corners of my mind, but last month I wrote a letter that angered a lot of people.

It was a piece about how the carpet bombing attack tactics of politicians from both major parties these past two decades had destroyed the people’s trust in our institutions and nurtured such anger they would vote for a volcano just to shake things up.

And now, right here, I am going to break that promise and anger people again. If Vote Smart, which this country needs so desperately, suffers as a result, so be it.

Politicians sell anger and fear, then tell our fellow citizens the other party or candidate is to blame for the horrid state of our society.  The media rivets on their most distressing claims or the grizzliest crimes our species is capable of. All the while I just feel so lucky to be me:

1. My life expectancy has increased 17 years since I was born.
2. The chances of my being murdered dropped 50% in the last thirty years.
3. The chances of my being robbed dropped 50% in the last thirty years.
4. The chances of my grandchildren being raped dropped 30% in the last thirty years.
5. I am ten times more likely to die in a traffic accident than in a war and traffic deaths are now the lowest they have been in 80 years.
6. I am more likely to expire in my bathtub tonight than at the hands of a Muslim terrorist.
7. And if I am murdered by a Muslim there is more than a 90% chance I am a Muslim.
8. If someone does take my life here at home the chances are vastly greater that it was at the hands of someone raised a Christian than any other faith on the earth.

I have had it so easy: I was not bloodied in the war for freedom; nor was I alive when our nation was invaded and our capitol burnt to the ground. I wasn’t there when we slaughtered 400,000 of ourselves in a Civil War, nor did I serve amongst the millions who died in the “War to End all Wars.” I hadn’t been born in time to go hungry and live in the dirt during the Great Depression, and you did not find my dead body among the 60 million lifeless of World War II.

I experienced nothing of any of that. No, today I had three good meals, none of which I had to grow myself, nor anyone else in my state. I spent some Facetime with my granddaughter who is teaching skiing in New Zealand—and if I want, this afternoon I could go down the street, sit in a chair and be lifted 42,000 feet into the sky, streak at 400 miles per hour while sipping a spritzer on the rocks, and drop in and visit with her.

 Sure we have problems. Of course we can be better, a whole lot better, but come on, no people in history have been as lucky as we.  I am so thankful to be living in this country at this time. I want to squeal with delight every time I can turn off all the political preaching and think on the truth of my good fortune.  If I were sitting in the lap of God and he asked me what American generation I would like to be born into, I would be a fool not to choose my own.

If listening to politicians, news programs or even the local café gossip were your only anchor to truth you would never know what a wonder we all are, what a success we have made of life that our lives are better than any who have ever lived before and can be so much better still.

The only real thing to fear is if we lock into, believe and self-fulfill the political and media mantra of doom and gloom.

If our struggle to self-govern is to continue to pull humanity up out of ignorance, the people must have access to the facts, to reality, not the imagined fears and contrived hatreds that we’re bludgeoned with each day.

Just ask yourself this: if Vote Smart only reaches the 8.4 million currently aware of it, how do the other 221 million voting age Americans vote smart? By listening to the candidates, their parties and the $10 billion they’re spending to tell people how and who to hate and despise?

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be.”   Thomas Jefferson

I won’t beg. This message will make some on the Vote Smart board angry, and upset many of the people receiving it - perhaps you. But if you are one of those who gets it, one who knows how important access to abundant, accurate relevant information is and how crucial Vote Smart is to that essential component of successful self-governance, please join us.  Just review the attached brochure or see us at and defend every citizen’s right to the facts.

Richard Kimball,
Vote Smart President

“People who mean to be their
own governors must arm themselves
with the power which knowledge gives.”
James Madison

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