Thu10302014

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After the glorious Fourth

Along The Spiritual Path

How fortunate we are to live in a nation with a political system deliberately created "under God" and with freedom of expression. That was brought home to me in 1992 on a visit with my husband to his relatives in Czechoslovakia.

The country was just emerging from decades of repression and some people were still ardent communists. At a social gathering, one man sounded off loudly about the U.S.A's faults. I was angry and had Bob translate for me "Yes, there are faults, but ordinary people can do something about them - especially at the local level."

I went on to tell about voicing concerns at city council meetings. One woman said in amazement "And they listened to you?!" I smiled to myself and thought "You'd better believe it!"

Someone once told me "America is a great place to live if you are healthy and employed. It's a harsh place if you're not." Living in Los Altos, I had been largely insulated from that reality until I learned about homelessness right here, and people being squeezed out of the community because of escalating housing costs. I had started to speak up but knew that wasn't enough.

After 29 years in this country I was still reluctant to give up my British citizenship but finally realized that I should be a voter. Weeks after our visit, I was scheduled to become a naturalized U.S. citizen at a Court House ceremony in San Jose. The Czech experience made me doubly glad about my decision.

I've come to admire the time, energy and concern that so many Americans put into the political process. In particular, that uniquely American group, the League of Women Voters.

I've also come to admire the many Americans of every faith who look for God's guidance on political matters, and act and vote accordingly. They are carrying on a great tradition.

Polata is a Mountain View resident.

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