BYUSA Connection: Learn about the issues

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    By Sarah J. Sandberg

    Recent clashes in Yugoslavia have awakened in me a feeling of freedom and democracy. With elections only a few days away, it is a good time to reflect on the responsibility United States citizens have to express their opinions concerning current issues and candidates by going to the polls and casting their votes.

    In the final debate between Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore, a professor posed a question addressing the apathy among college age individuals across the nation. He pointed out issues that have driven the debates and presidential platforms including health care and social security. Why is this the case? The fact is people over the age of 65 vote! Their voice is driving the issues. If forces were rallied and the younger generation gathered to the polls a younger voice would be heard.

    President Gordon B. Hinckley stated the following in an interview with the Houston Chronicle:

    “I believe there is a great residual of goodness in people. I believe that there are millions who are prayerful, faithful, strong people who are doing their best to rear their families in truth and righteousness, to live as citizens with honesty and integrity and to make a contribution of their lives.” Citizens who are active in their communities do make a difference.

    Members of the church have always been encouraged to be active citizens in the community. As students of BYU, we have an additional level of responsibility. President Gordon B. Hinckley addressed this when he spoke to the National Press Club in Washington D.C. in March of this year. He said “Brigham Young University is our crown jewel. It is the largest church-sponsored private university in America, with an enrollment of more than 28,000. Its graduates are now found across this nation and even across the world. They serve on the faculties of nearly every large university in America. They are in business, the professions, and in almost every honorable vocation. A substantial number are here in Washington, including 17 members of the Congress.”

    Your voice does count. Speaking up on behalf of your moral standards adds to the integrity of our nation. The very fabric of our country depends upon the character and involvement of its citizens. Individual votes do make a difference. We speak English, not German, because in the 1700’s when the Colonists were debating a common language, English passed by one vote.

    A letter from the First Presidency recently read in Sacrament meetings across the country states that the church takes no official stance on candidates but encourages people to be civically active and aware.

    The future course of our nation depends upon your involvement. Educate yourself on the issues concerning your community and nation. Take advantage of the privilege to voice your opinion. Vote on November 7th!

    Sarah Sandberg can be reached at .

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