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Some's Hot, Some's Not 

by B.K. Carter
This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time and phone number.

City and school elections are scheduled for the first weekend in May and already candidate forums are being scheduled. One such is this Thursday, March 27 at 7 p.m. in the Great Hall which is in the education building of the First United Methodist Church on Eldridge Road. There candidates for the Sugar Land City Council will be Q and Aed by the Old Sugar Land Homeowners Alliance. The education building is directly across the street from the library at the corner of Eldridge and Seventh.

These upcoming elections reminded me of an essay I received after the last election. I decided to save it for the next election in hopes of persuading some of you to vote.

Besides, nobody has ticked me off this week.

Four Minutes

By Pam Vollmar

As I got ready for work Tuesday morning, the thought occurred to me that I needed to vote. That would be easy-I could just drop by on my way to work and run in to the school and cast my ballot. I walked over to the voting booth, picked up my grease pencil and started to mark the bubble to indicate that I would like to vote a straight party ticket. As my pencil hovered over the bubble, all of a sudden, a rush of feelings and memories came to my mind.

I remembered being on a senior year choir trip to Prague which opened this young American's eyes to the true meaning of Freedom. Our visit was only four years after the Russians had stormed Czechoslovakia and placed the government under communist control. Our tour guide was a soft-spoken, well dressed gentleman who had been a lawyer. The communist would not allow him to practice law or leave the country and had given him the job of tour guide. He felt he could not leave the country because the communist threatened the well-being of his grown daughter staying in the country. The walls of the hotel had bullet holes in them where a machine gun had sprayed down the street. I would put my fingers in the holes as we walked to our rooms. The new dorms that we stayed in were crumbling cinder block structures that were in no better shape that the schools that had been condemned when I was in middle school. That trip made a lasting impression on this teenage spoiled American about the goodness of America.

I remembered all the images of the service men and women that I had seen over the years that have given not only of themselves but also their lives to protect this moment for me. All the television pictures from Vietnam, the Gulf War, Yemen, the Iwo Jima monument, and Black Hawk Down flashed through my mind. When I realized that my own sons could very well be those pictures, these men and women became as precious to me as my own children. Their sacrifice took on a new meaning.

I remembered my recent unsuccessful campaign for public office. Because of that campaign, I recognize what each candidate has been experiencing in the last few months. I understand how overwhelming it can be to meet so many people and have to be at so many functions.. I understand how you continually share your vision hoping that others will get excited too so that they can help build a better tomorrow. I know how it hurts when you hear rumors about you that are totally false but you go on because you know in your heart who you are. I know how bad your feet hurt and how much you want a meal that isnít chicken. And most importantly, I know that most candidates do all this because they really want to make things better for us. They want to speak for us. They want to represent us.

As I stood there with my pencil hovering over the straight ticket bubble, all these memories and images flashed through my mind in an instance, and in that instant I knew that I had to color in each bubble beside the name of the candidate that I wanted to vote for. I was grateful that I had the Freedom to mark that bubble and I wanted to savor that moment. For me, coloring in each bubble became a sign of respect - respect for all those that had sacrificed so that our country could be free, respect for our service men and women that protect us daily, and respect for all that each candidate had laid on the line in their bid for the office.

Getting to work on time didnít seem so important any more. I knew that I needed to take an extra four minutes and mark every bubble on that ballot even though I knew I would vote straight ticket. After all, these four minutes had been secured for me by the sacrifice of so many faces that I will never know; and the price for these four minutes has been higher than I can even image. Four minutes is not much time and marking circles on a ballot is not a difficult thing to do, but when I voted on Tuesday, I felt that it was the greatest gesture that I could give to show respect to all those before me that had ensured my Freedom to experience this moment.

B. K. Carter is publisher of the Fort Bend Star. You can e-mail her at

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   Last Update:  April 04, 2003