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Guest Blogger: Marsha West
Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship (Tags: Voting, Volunteering, Vermont Escape, Writing Letters, Participation)

Thank you for having me today, Delilah. I think this will be fun, but this will be a little different from most of the posts on your blog. It is about writing but only in a peripheral way. I love blogging. Probably more than any other social media, and that would be because I’m fairly long-winded. The subject also relates to my first release VERMONT ESCAPE. (See below for cover)

How many of you have ever written a letter to the editor or one to your Congress person or state representative or assembly person? (In Vermont, the state legislature is called the assembly. I researched that for my July release.) How about to your school board representative. Do you know who that person is?

I see you squirming out there. Stomach heaving, finger itching to push delete because you think I’m going to go all politics on you. No, no, no. I’ve heard the rules that include don’t talk religion or politics on social media, because you run the chance of alienating ½ your readers. I am a rule follower.  😆 But I’ve always been an involved citizen.

Got it from my mother, an awesome Civil Service executive secretary for colonels and generals. My father was in the Air Force, and we moved around a lot. Folks in the military couldn’t get involved in politics openly. Makes sense in a way. The President is the commander-in-chief. Not good to attack the boss. 🙂

Well, back to my mother. After my father retired, Mom picked up her pen (typewriter/computer) and sent off reams of letters to politicians of all walks and in all positions. This was back in the day, when letters were on paper and mailed. To their credit, she heard back from most of them.

Mom was my role model, a genteel southern lady, who had strong opinions and wasn’t afraid of stating them. That’s what I’ve become. (Not the southern lady part). LOL

I started by working in all my daughters’ school PTAs, and boy did I learn leadership skills there. Ultimately, I ran for a seat on our school board. Lost the first time (not at all fun), but ran twice more and was elected both times, serving for a total of 8 years. The learning curve was huge, and I loved the experience.

For me the hardest thing was talking to a reporter. Oh, I could talk all day into a mike, but getting the content down to fit the 15 -20 seconds that would show up on TV? That was tough. You won’t be surprised to learn it’s a challenge for me to break down a 90-K book into a log line. LOL

You’re thinking I’ve wondered all around several topics, aren’t you? Well, only sort of. You see, we held elections all across the country this past March, April, and May in small towns to sprawling urban communities for everything from mayor to dog-catcher and everything in between. Run-offs usually fall in the month of June. On July 4th, we celebrate among other things our freedom to vote. I’m a fairly patriotic person. (Not surprisingly, you can find a scene in VERMONT ESCAPE, where Jill celebrates the Fourth with her new friends and contrasts the weather in Vermont with that in Texas. Big difference.  😯 )

I encourage you to take note of who is running for various positions in your own community. Many of those elections are held in the fall. Others are in the spring as I mentioned above. Find out when you hold elections in your area. Find someone who believes the way you do and stands for the things you do. Then give money to their campaign, volunteer, and vote.

If you’re afraid of getting embroiled in party politics, you can probably avoid that. More than likely you’ll find positions that are non-partisan. (In my town, our school board, city council, and mayor are non-partisan elections.)

If you decide to go with one of the political parties, good for you. Just please don’t post ugly things about the other side on my Facebook page. 😕

We are fortunate in our country to make changes in our political system in a peaceful manner. In some countries, when people speak out they face bullets. It’s your turn now. Have you ever worked in anyone’s campaign? What compelled you to do that? Was it a partisan race? Have you ever run for a position? How did that turn out? How do you educate yourself about candidates and their positions? Even if you’ve never gotten behind a candidate or platform, are you registered to vote? Do you feel like you just don’t have time?

Remember the young girl in Pakistan who was shot because she wanted to make sure girls in her country got an education? We should get involved in her honor.

My first book, VERMONT ESCAPE, releases July 15 by MuseItUp Publishing and will be available at all e-book venues.

Vermont Escape2After the murders of her husband and then father, Jill Barlow flees to Vermont, but the Texas gambling syndicate believes she’s hiding damning evidence. To get it, they’ll kill again.


Jill Barlow reached for her make-up kit and brushed against the one thing she’d been doing her damnedest to avoid. Her heart rate tripped into overtime.

It was the package she received days after her dad was murdered. That was one month ago, but she couldn’t face opening a reminder of the nightmare.

Pictures of her vigorous father mixed with recent images of his closed casket. Nausea hit. Again. Damn. Why would someone blow off her father’s head ? She hadn’t stayed to find out. She’d run.

I blog every Thursday. You can find me at my website. And follow me at Facebook and Twitter. I’d love to hear from you. And thanks again, Delilah.

5 comments to “Guest Blogger: Marsha West”

  1. Teresa Hughes
    · June 12th, 2013 at 10:38 am · Link

    I joined my first blog (this one) in Januray when I came into the modern age by getting a smartphone. So I am loving all these differents thoughts that I get to learn about each day. Thanks for sharing an interesting post!

    I have written letters to the editor as well as members of our school board. I work with children/adults with special needs. I also have a learning disabled son and a special needs son. So if they and others are not getting what they need in school I am quick to send a letter to make sure the issue is addressed. Those letters do make a difference!

    Have a great day!

  2. Marsha R. West
    · June 12th, 2013 at 1:25 pm · Link

    Teresa, good for you for sending in those letters to the school board. I used to be a board member in a large urban district, and we listened to what people said and we’d get the admin to check out the reports. I also attended meetings of the Special Education Advisory Committee. A group of people who’d learned how to get the system to work for their kids and wanted to share that with others. Before you send those letters to the board, I hope you worked through you site teachers and administrators first. I know sometimes that doesn’t work. But you can get faster action if you’ve got folks who will work with you. Congrats for jumping into the social media world. I’ve only been here a year before you. Read often before posting anything. Then I kind of got the hang of it. Thanks for stopping by. Not sure I’ve put this in the right spot. LOL

  3. Amber H
    · June 12th, 2013 at 2:43 pm · Link

    My parents were always really involved in the community and school board when my brothers and I were kids. They actually did alot for the community and doubled the size of my elementry schools library by bringing in the box tops for education program. I totally agree that you should be involved the community. 🙂

  4. Jo-Ann Carson
    · June 12th, 2013 at 5:44 pm · Link

    A refreshing post Marsha. We need more people like you caring about what’s going on.
    Jo-Ann 😉

  5. Marsha R. West
    · June 12th, 2013 at 10:44 pm · Link

    Amber, sounds like you have really strong role models in your parents. I remember my mom serving as a PTA president in one of my schools. Not sure at the time, I appreciated what she was doing. And doubling the size of your elementary school library is awesome! Kudos to them. I know the librarian, principal, teachers and kids must’ve loved your folks!

    Jo-Ann, it’s always great to see you. We can never have too many people who take steps to help others. Personally, not doing that much these days with the writing. Hope I can inspire some of the younger folks to be active Thanks for stopping by.

Comments are closed.