Exercise your right to vote Published April 3, 2008 By Tech. Sgt. Stephen Bailey 301st Fighter Wing Fort Worth, TEXAS -- A preacher came to visit an elderly lady who had been away from the congregation for a few weeks. He sat down and started talking about how everyone missed her and that they hoped to see her soon. While he sat there he noticed a bowl of peanuts nearby and, while he spoke, he started to eat a few. After several minutes, he realized he had eaten the whole bowl of peanuts. He quickly apologized to the lady saying how embarrassed he was that he had eaten the whole bowl. She replied, "That's ok young man. I don't much care for peanuts, I just like to lick the chocolate off of them!" Some have said that humor is a ridiculous way of helping us to see the truth about an issue and, although this story might make us think twice before eating peanuts, it should help us to see an important key - make sure you know what's going on. For a few minutes, I want to talk about exercising and voting, probably two very important activities we claim we never have time to take part in. Many people tell me, when it comes to exercising, there's just not enough time in the day to fit it in, or better yet, they're just completely worn out, and even if they did make it into a gym, they wouldn't be able to move from complete exhaustion. For me, I couldn't afford not to go exercise - it gives me energy rather than taking it away. Healthy exercise is critical to the extension of our lives. Much has been written about this subject urging everyone to begin walking, lifting weights, do cardio, or some type of physical activity. The more we learn about exercising, the better we will be. It doesn't take a lot to begin a sound exercise program - no one is saying become Mr. Olympia or run the Boston Marathon, but healthy exercise is critical to our lives. My father told me on several occasions that he wished he had started a regular exercise program earlier in life. In fact, I believe exercising helped increase his life span by several years. He would say exercising helped him feel better, sleep better and gave him a better quality of life than he had before. Now, there are thousands of exercise and nutrition books and magazines out there to choose from; take the time to become better informed and make sound choices, especially when it comes to health and exercise. We can have all kinds of things in the world to enjoy, but if we're not around ... well, you know. Begin tomorrow with a regular exercise program. Walk around the block with a spouse or friend, run on a treadmill or play basketball or racquetball, or even swim a few laps. Your body will be glad you did. A healthy body will also give you better brain function which will help with another important area - your right to vote. If you're like me, lately you have become overwhelmed with all the political commercials, news shows and telephone marketing campaigns about the presidential candidates. At times, it can become too much, almost to the point of throwing up your hands and saying, 'who cares!' Well, I care and so should you. There's nothing worse than not knowing what's going on especially when it comes to the welfare of this country and of the world. Yes, I've been told all my life, voting is a privilege and my vote can make a difference. But it's the freedom that I'm taking part in and that I enjoy and am proud of. A freedom that didn't come easy! Be knowledgeable about your vote and make sure you vote for the candidate who you have confidence in and one who cares about the presidency, not in just being president. We are amazing people sometimes; for some of us, all it takes to make up our mind is a roaring speech, appreciating the outfit a candidate wore, or taking notice if they appeared on Saturday Night Live or MTV. The same could be said about going to a particular church just because they served donuts and coffee ... we're smarter than that. Right now the country is heading into critical times that will decide the political and moral direction the country. The decision is ours to make but deciding not to vote is a decision we can't afford to make either. I've had family members who have said, "What does it matter what a candidate believes as long as it does not affect my family." It's not, will it affect my family, but rather, when. Voting is our right to decide between what is right and wrong based on accurate information. So our responsibility is to make up our mind based on factual information and then vote. We are reaching a point in our world of inactivity; we believe if we don't get involved, everything will work out just fine. History tells us this is wrong. Many great causes were defended and won by your family and mine - let's not be the generation who doesn't act but sits idly by and watches from the sidelines and then complains when it doesn't go our way. I encourage you, as I do myself, to exercise our right to vote. I believe we'll feel better when we do both.