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Tom Ford: 'Support a candidate and vote as if the future of this republic depends on your singular vote.'

PMG FILE PHOTO - Tom Ford"We the people" own the mortgage we hold for the generations that follow us in this American parade, a debt originally paid for in the blood and sacrifice of those Americans that came before us.

The down payment was presented by American Patriots at Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, delivered to the British.

Subsequent payments were made at Bunker Hill in June of 1775, Trenton in December of 1776, King's Mountain 1780, Cowpens in January of 1781 and then Yorktown in October 1781.

Our Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights are the contracts we must insure and pass to those that follow us.

The Louisiana Purchase and the acquisition of Texas, followed by the westward push and the conflicts with our American Native brothers are growing pains we shall never forget. Yet we still owed.

Large installments were made in the American Civil War fought to preserve this Union of States and to free the slaves. Seven hundred thousand Americans died in that struggle to secure America for those of us who have been so privileged to inherit this wonderful home. We were gifted with a second mortgage.

Two world wars drew us to Europe and to the farthest reaches of the Pacific Ocean. Enormous payments of blood and treasure insuring the freedom of a postwar America due to so many Nazis and Imperial Japanese perishing that their ability to continue war had been physically destroyed.

We owe the men who raised the flag on Mount Suribachi, and those who fought in the December 1944 Battle of the Bulge, and to all the men and women in uniform or factory that produced that victory. Never, ever forget what was gifted to us but remember the price of this gift and never forget that there is interest due.

We exist now in a post Korean-War, post-Vietnam War, post Iraq War and a post-Afghanistan War period where the compass that so clearly guided our forbearers has become difficult to read. Ronald Reagan said it so very clearly during his Inaugural Address Jan. 5, 1967, as governor of California during an orderly administrative transfer of authority by the direction of the people, a ceremony seemingly lost today.

"Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. And those in world history who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again."

We have reached that fork in the road.

What people do we allow into our republic, those we welcome or those who bull-rush the borders in defiance of the laws of our nation? This appears to be happening with the wink and a nod from the existing administration while destroying the hopes and aspirations of our minority citizens who already suffer a disproportionate share of poverty and unemployment.

A year of violent and tragic riots and now a focus on the education of our next generation. There is no violation of our rights to demand adherence to the lawful rules and regulations that aid the goal of education. Counterculture educational goals spotlight the fork to the left exposing the socialistic ambition to "fundamentally transform America." I do not recall seeing that on any ballot I filled out.

I will focus on the path to the right. Constitutional rights and limits go hand in hand, and we must trust our elected officials to do the balancing in our state and federal governments.

The recorded history our candidates provide shows what they stand for and is the guide to the selection of our state leadership.

The Oregon left has overpowered the underrepresented right for too long. There is an opportunity for a middle trail to be blazed, and a true centrist has their hat in the ring as an independent.

Focus on the fact that elections do have consequences. Support a candidate and vote as if the future of this republic depends on your singular vote — because it does.

Veterans Day is Nov. 11, so remember those living veterans who have done their best to insure the debt has been paid.

Tom Ford is a U.S. Army Vietnam War veteran and a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4362. He lives in Scappoose. This commentary represents his personal views, not those of the VFW.

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