On Oct. 8, 13 individuals were charged for alleged plotting to kidnap and murder the sitting governor of Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitman.  

This was not the deranged action of one individual, but that of organized individuals who had formed a “militia.” They expressed their visceral hatred for her enforcement of COVID-19 safety guidelines. Guidelines meant to help our society interact with each other as safely as possible. Guidelines based on scientific facts. 

How did we go from a great nation to one whose citizens would try to kidnap and do harm to a duly elected governor? We all read about this happening in “other” countries, but never here. They did not want to wear a face mask, so the answer is to eliminate the governor?  

What has become of us in the past four years? We are losing our sense of direction. In this time of unrest and wild rhetoric, it’s time to focus on a North Star called the truth. The truth is found in facts.

It’s a fact we are a democracy. A democracy over 200 years old. A democracy that survived a Civil War. A democracy that struggles today with division and discord. A democracy that will continue to survive if we can face bonefide facts.

Do not accept any politician at face value. Their rhetoric has far reaching consequences. Do not take for granted that what freedoms we have today will be there four years from now. It behooves us to not listen to only one news channel, or read only one newspaper, or feel that we can only identify always and forever with one political party. Be knowledgeable, be diligent, and VOTE always as though your life depends on it — because your children’s  lives do. 

I will not advocate for a particular party in the coming choices we have to make. But making a tough choice is something we as Americans have been doing all our lives. These times are no different. We have early voting in Virginia. If you have not voted already, do so NOW. Let us not wait until November! Vote and let your vote count for the future of our country, our democracy, and most importantly, our children.

- Wayne Cox, Spout Spring