As I write this, final voting for candidates is tomorrow, so I am penning it before I know the results. Well, how could I possibly write something unless I know the results? Easy, we never know the results until the votes are counted and certified.

Andrew Jackson was the seventh president, and he is now forever minted on the $20 bill. Every time we whip one out and pay for lunch, we are expressing an honor to this man who was president from 1829 to 1837? Do you know how he celebrated becoming President? I do. He and his mountain man cronies got stinking drunk and tore up the White House, ripping up curtains and falling out of windows. Go Jackson. Way to be the main man. Jackson was married to Rachel Jackson, but it was rumored that she was not divorced from her first husband, so they were in an adulterous relationship.

She was so upset over the media coverage, which took months in those times, that she went to the Hermitage, their home, and died. Jackson blamed the press and thereafter his niece, Emily Donelson, was his white House hostess. Jackson was a frontier man, and this was the first time a President was from the west instead of say… Virginia. They called him King Andrew I. Not our best moment as a nation. And yet we survived.

Mark Twain, the humorist I most admire, said in 1905, “In this country we have one great privilege which they don’t have in other countries. When a thing gets to be absolutely unbearable the people can rise up and throw it off. That’s the finest asset we’ve got, the ballot box.”

Of course, we have differences of opinions. Our freedoms are what makes America the country to look up to worldwide.

And as I write this I know that “Freedom of the Press” is number one. They keep printing the Mouse! We are as hot-blooded in our intentions as a bull fighter is in an arena without a cape. The bull charges and we keep ducking, but we stay to fight with letters, with pamphlets, with texts, with emails, with radio and with television. Thank God the commercials will be over.

The Mouse sits in the corner and observes. The Mouse only judges inactivity. As a teacher of history, as well as English and journalism, I felt the responsibility and explained the duty of voting. It is both a right and a personal responsibility. We owe our freedom to those who have come before us and allowed us this great opportunity. Those who settled a country without roads. Those who lost their land and had to start again from nothing. Those who went to war and died in the service of this country, leaving families without support. Our ancestors sacrificed for us.

A great example of this type of hero was George Washington Carver, born in 1860 of a slave mother. He was adopted by a German couple who taught him to read. He carried his shoes back and forth from school so as not to wear them out.

Carver first attended art and piano school in Indianola, Iowa. He was sent by a smart art teacher to Iowa State University where he got a degree in Agriculture and a masters in Botany. This man found ways for the common peanut to feed millions; legend says he also played piano and gave concerts to get the money to buy glass bottles for his laboratory. This was one American who helped save thousands from starvation. And he voted. Proud to do it.

Mark Twain also said, and I am paraphrasing, “To vote, check your conscience and personal honor; it is more important than loyalty to any party.” While our interests lie in what is before us, religiously, economically, environmentally, or just plain personally, we do come together in crisis.

I remember 9/11, and it did not matter if you were a cowboy, city dweller, biker, or Alaskan musher. We were one. Now we have been one in masks looking like the James gang. (Little joke.) When you read this, and I hope you will, we will be one again. And in four years from now, we can make whatever decision we wish again. Roaring Mouse, I voted, and I sure hope you did, too. Out.

Jo White
Jo White

From 1966 to 1971, Jo attended the University of New Mexico and Memphis State University, earning degrees in Communications, English, Journalism, Speech and Drama with history minors. At UNM, her hero was Tony Hillerman. She taught high school and middle school in city, country, and private schools for 30 years. Roaring Mouse is in its 25 th year. She can be reached at jomouse@aol.com