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Elect a 12 - point buck

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Sept. 17 marked the beginning of another important phase of Whiteman history. That is the day this year's deer hunting season began. Preparations for deer season stretched back months, even years before the season opened.

Some had purchased expensive and elaborate weapons with which to bag that elusive 12 - point buck. I am amazed at the technology that goes into the hunting bow and  arrow.
When I was a kid, and I was doing archery in Boy Scouts, my beautiful $25 Bear bow and $1.15 target- point arrows seemed to cost a lot to me. Many of my co-workers are spending $10 to $20 on a single arrow and arrowhead. They spend months practicing the art of archery. Some bow hunters are born with an innate ability to shoot the arrow and hit what they are aiming at.

Others have to work and practice and study to master the skill and get the buck. At some point in the year they study the terrain and the habits of the deer to establish a pattern that maximizes their chances for bagging the beast.

Many will put out motion sensing cameras that record the date and time of the deer's encounter with the camera. They will analyze the habits of the deer and use the data to plan where and when they will strike. Once the plan is laid, they will purchase or build at platform in the trees that allows them a bird's eye view of the kill - zone and keeps them out of sight from the herd.

On the appointed day they rise early, drink cup after cup of hot coffee to wake them and give them the edge of alertness required for success in the hunt and dress in specially purchased hunting garb. They slather bottles of doe urine or some such thing on themselves to mask the smell of oat meal and coffee and they head out in pitch darkness to get in place before the dawn.

If the Lord smiles on them, the weather is right, the site is well chosen, the bowstring keeps its integrity and their luck, nerves and aim hold true, they could be blessed with a few months of delicious venison jerky, sausage, steaks and roasts. Days, months, years of preparation and investment will finally be rewarded.

So, what is important to you? How much preparation are you willing to do to ensure success in your life, endeavor, recreation, hobby, etc... If you are like most Americans, you are probably highly - skilled at a few things and moderately skilled at a few things and able to do a passing job at everything else.

However, regardless of how good you are at them, those few that are very important to you warrant a great deal of preparation... like opening day. The real opening day is nearly upon us. Nov. 4 is opening day for the next four to eight years and beyond. The prize isn't a few steaks or a bit of jerky.

The prize in this hunt is the future of our lifestyle, our culture, our pay, our country and our way of life. Most Americans and many military members rely on the sound bites aired on the daily TV news for their opinions and for their decision on whether to vote and who to vote for. Because their livelihood depends on how important and interesting they are, the news media will spin issues to create controversy. Your preparation for this opening day needs to be as in-depth as the diehard hunter's preparation for the opening day of hunting season. 

It is your responsibility as a citizen of the greatest nation in the history of mankind and as a member of the most powerful military in the history of mankind, to be the most informed voter that you can possibly be. In today's world there is no excuse for ignorance, complacency or disregard in the selection of our top leaders.

In the upcoming election there are two major parties in contention for the office of President/Vice President. These two parties are diametrically opposed in their view of the major issues confronting our nation and the world.

The way they implement their values, goals and ideas will also be radically different. The only way you can know if the candidate you will vote for will support your way of life is to find out what they have said they would do and compare it to what they have done.

Find out if the things they have voted for are consistent with the words they speak and if they are consistent with what you want them to do. Watch the news on TV, listen to the talking heads on the radio, read the candidates' voting history on the internet, look at their bios and see if their life parallels their words, go to events, meet the candidates and ask questions.

As I am out wandering around (I am from Iowa) I have asked many of the Airmen that I meet if they are registered to vote. I ask if they know where the major candidates stand on the issues important to them. I ask if they know when Election Day is.

Some have the answers, most don't. I challenge you to become informed and become an activist. We cannot advocate for a specific candidate, but we can advocate for intelligent, thoughtful consideration of the candidates and of informed voting.

Be an activist for responsibility as a citizen in the single most important political decision in this century. Make this presidential election your hobby, your vocation, your interest, your hunt.

Opening day is just around the corner and we need to elect a 12 - point buck.