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Character Counts
When Voting

Natalia J. Garland

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When I go to vote for President of the United States tomorrow, I want to vote for the candidate who has as much character as a nine-year-old. Perhaps the best way to effect a plan for stabilizing Iraq and for improving healthcare and employment opportunities at home, would be to start with some basic personal qualities that we Americans teach to our children.

Character Counts is an educational program for young people which emphasizes the development of positive character traits alongside academic excellence. I think the Character Counts questionnaire could also serve as a voter's checklist. Before you go to the polls tomorrow, see if your candidate could answer yes to the questions below.


  • Do you do what you are supposed to do?
  • Do you think about how your actions will affect others?
  • Do you always try to do your best?


  • Do you treat others the way you would want to be treated?
  • Are you polite and courteous?
  • Do you treat others well even if they look, act, or believe differently than you do?


  • Do you play by rules?
  • Do you take turns and share?
  • When you disagree, do you try to see the other person's side?
  • Do you speak up if you know something is unfair?


  • Are you honest in your words and actions?
  • Do you keep your promises?
  • Do you stand up for your beliefs and do what is right?
  • Are you a friend?


  • Are you kind with your words and actions?
  • Do you help others?
  • Do you think about other people's feelings and needs?
  • Are you thankful for what others do for you?


  • Do you cooperate with others?
  • Do you obey rules and laws?
  • Do you do your share to make your school and neighborhood better?
  • Do you help protect the earth?

Sometime Tuesday night, we should know who our next president is. Voting, like running the nation, requires maturity and character. I consider this election to be the most important of my lifetime. I will be at the polls early in the morning. Then I will proudly and gratefully wear my I Voted sticker throughout the day. (Written 11/01/04: bibliography available.)

Until we meet again..............stay sane.

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Copyright 2004 Natalia J. Garland