I know many people choosing a Presidential candidate are arguing over who will raise or lower or do nothing to their family’s taxes. I know that with the economy in such a tailspin right now, taxes are a hot button issue because money is so tight. And I know that voting to raise your own property taxes seems somewhat absurd right now. But I need you to listen to me.
If you have a fire levy on your ballot, don’t balk at the idea. Okay, balk initially. And then do what every educated voter should do: find out why it is there, what it is funding and then make the decision to balk or vote for it.
I understand that people without children often balk at education levies. “I’m not getting any use out of it so I’m not voting for it,” is something I have heard from those in opposition to education levies. While I think that argument is weak at best, I want you to know that even if you don’t work for the fire department, fire levies affect your family. Beyond funding the way that those firefighters take home the bacon, levies often fund a wide range of things for the fire department and, as such, for your safety.
New trucks are an example. Perhaps you don’t think your department needs a new truck. Call and ask those firefighters about their current truck issues. Ask why they’re needing a new one. Will they be selling an old one or adding to their fleet and/or is the oldest one too old to even be sold to a volunteer department? Does your department do things like give free smoke detectors to underprivileged families and elderly people? That money comes from somewhere. Perhaps you don’t think that they should be giving them free smoke detectors. I ask you, why not? Isn’t life something worth protecting?
There are many things that fire departments need to run properly, efficiently and safely. You, the average citizen, don’t often take the time to think about it because we take our fire departments for granted. They’re fun to watch in parades but, to be honest, no one ever wants the fire department to arrive at their home. Heck, I don’t even want them to arrive. But they do. They leave their own homes during Christmas Eve dinner (always), throw themselves in a truck and put out the fire that your Husband/Father-in-law/etc. caused while deep frying the turkey. They regularly put their lives in danger even if it was your carelessness that caused a fire. (Read: Don’t leave candles out overnight, people!) They save the lives of your children, your pets and you. They may not save everything but they save what matters most: life.
We’re hopeful that all three of our local levies will be passed this election. We’re also realistic in the fact that with everything as it is right now, they might not. As you head to the polls, realize that you will not only be voting for your own safety but for the well-being of men and women like FireDad and for families like ours. Is this an emotional plea? Sure. But I figure if real politicians can get away with it, so can I. (That said, I’m not going to publicly berate you if you don’t vote for your local fire levies. Maybe in private but never in public. And with no name-calling either. Well, maybe a little name calling.)
Every Tuesday through November 4, 2008, we will be discussing something political here on Stop, Drop & Blog. Our weekly series is entitled “Is It November Yet” because, well, we’re excited for change, ready for the number of posts in our Google Reader to go down and overwhelmed with the wealth of information to search through. Next week I’m going to talk about something on the national level. Watch out for drama!