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Sonoma County Gazette
OPINION: 3 Things You Can

OPINION:3 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Mood, Your Community, and Our Country

Nov 3, 2018


By Michael Dortch

Anger. Fear. Exhaustion. Jubilation. Relief. A strong desire to rebuild, restore, strengthen, and protect.

We who endured the massive wildfires here in Northern California a year ago are still experiencing all of these feelings, and more. As are many of us across the entire nation, in response to what I’ll summarize here as political events during the past 18 to 24 months.

Frankly, I don’t care who or what you believe, disbelieve, feel, or don’t feel, or your reasons for those. Instead, I care passionately that you do three things, starting as soon as possible.

1. Make sure you are registered to vote at your current legal/official address. If you’re reading this online, you can check your status, and register if you need to, here: (If you’re receiving regular vote-by-mail ballots or other official election-related mail addressed correctly to you, you can skip this step.)

2. Register yourself (if necessary), and as many people you know or care about as possible, as soon as possible. (If you’re reading this online, you can do this right now, or as soon as you finish reading this, here: Otherwise, find your local elections office, or visit a post office or government office near you to get a registration form you can fill out and return in person or by mail.

3. On election day (or before if you’re voting by mail) , vote -- and make sure to vote your values. Not for or against any particular person or party, but for your values.

Your values. The things you care most about. Your family. Your community. Your land. Your home. Your business. Your neighbors. Seniors. Veterans. Children. The environment. Whatever you truly, deeply, consistently value.

Despite everything, I remain hopefully, even naively optimistic that values still matter to most of us, and that our individual values have more common elements than radical differences. And I believe those shared values are bigger stakes this November than any elected offices or laws that are subject to change.

So register yourself. Register everyone else you can.

Then do whatever you can to make sure you and those you care about vote your values. It even makes a straightforward social media hashtag -- #VoteYourValues. Because if we all #VoteOurValues (another hashtag), we just might find ourselves more able to remember, remind ourselves, and recommit to those shared values that made -- and make -- this country great.


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