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It's currently the dog days of August, but when you read this message, the fall election campaign will be in full swing. While I am now sweltering under a dull haze of heat and humidity, come mid-October, I'll be in that swamp of endless political intent and its counteroffensive-the dis, as in discredit, dismiss, distract, disrespect, distance. Love it or hate it; America has its own brand of political campaign that surfaces every fall and crescendos every fourth year. It is your responsibility to participate, and I mean vote. No excuses.


There are always issues that compel us to vote; this year is no exception. David Brooks1 noted that we are entering an epic era of legislation that will involve 5 large problems facing the federal government. He lists as large problems erosion of the social contract, energy shortage, stagnation in human capital, financial market reform, and infrastructure reform. The erosion of the social contract represents the lessening ability of the private sector to provide health benefits, resulting in mounting pressure to for healthcare reform that will no longer be pacified with shallow initiatives. Expect major reform. Energy needs are rising worldwide, and strategies will need to be put in place to address the increased demand with new sources, new technologies, new pricing. Expect major reform. The stagnation of human capital, reflected in the lower educational ranking of our citizen workforce compared with that worldwide, is resulting in inequity and wage stagnation. Initiatives addressing human capital are needed. Expect major reform. Financial market concerns related to lending, housing, and other issues have compelled the federal government to intervene in areas that, in the past, were not regulated. Expect major reform. Infrastructure concern involves everything from questioning the safety of the bridges we use daily in commuting to work to visioning new methods for commuting to work. Expect major reform.


As leaders in nursing, clinical nurse specialists are responsible for being informed about issues that impact the health of the public. As citizens, clinical nurse specialists have the opportunity to engage in decision making that will affect issues. I was thinking of making a list of the top 10 reasons to vote. I considered appealing to your sense of civic pride and patriotism, to your sense of duty and obligation, to your interest in the issues, to your dedication to your fellow citizens, and to your desire to secure the future. I could add a reminder that your right to vote has been paid for by sacrifice of unfathomable magnitude by those who serve us in uniform. But in the end, there is really only 1 reason to vote-because you can.




1. Brooks D. The coming of age. New York Times. July 18, 2008:A19. [Context Link]