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Final 2014 Election Update

It has been a week since the election and the Republicans have gained a total of five seats. While this does not seem like a big win for Washington Republicans, this is huge!

HOUSE

Though the House Republicans only gained four seats in the House and still don’t have a majority, those seats were held by four Democrat incumbents, one of which has been in office since 1998:

  • 17th legislative district: Representative Monica Stonier, elected in 2010 lost by 1,134 votes to Lynda Wilson
  • 25th legislative district: Representative Dawn Morrell, elected in 2002 and again in 2012, lost by 3,523 votes to Melanie Stambaugh
  • 26th legislative district: Representative Larry Seaquist, elected in 2006, lost by 289 votes to Michelle Caldier
  • 35th legislative district: Representative Kathy Haigh, elected in 1998, lost to Dan Griffey by 546 votes

There was one race that we were tracking in the 28th legislative district, with Christine Kilduff (D) and Paul Wagemann (R), and for a day or two, Wagemann seemed to be leading. But over the week, Kilduff has gained more votes and has a lead of 289 votes.  And while Ms. Kilduff may have won this seat, it does not take away a seat previously held by a Republican. Kilduff winning this seat does not take away a seat from the Republicans, but instead, keeps the seat for the Democrats.

What has once an eight seat lead for the House Democrats is now a 4 seat lead over the House Republicans. This brings the distribution of power in the House to 51 Democrats to 47 Republicans.

SENATE

Last year, the Senate Democrats held 25 seats while the Republicans held 24 seats.  But since last week, Republican Mark Miloscia has held a steady lead over Democrat Shari Song and has given the Senate Republicans the one seat they needed to gain control of the Senate (25 seats held by Republicans and 24 seats held by Democrats). The Republicans do not need to rely on the Majority Coalition, which included 24 Republican and two Democratic Senators, to hold the majority.

The seats gained by the Washington Republicans will have an impact on the upcoming legislative session, which starts on January 12, 2015. And should any of those bills deal with life, religious freedom, marriage, and parental rights, we will keep you updated on those issues.

Election Update: Day Three

It has only been three days after the election and there are ballots still being counted. These late ballots are having huge impacts on a handful of races where only a few hundred votes are deciding who will win.

We have been tracking five races, and of those races, four Democrat incumbents are losing to their Republican opponents:

  • 17th legislative district (Vancouver): Democrat incumbent Monica Stonier has been steadily falling behind Republican Lynda Wilson. After serving her first term in the House, Representative Stonier has only 48.5% of the votes cast in Tuesday’s election; that’s 946 votes behind Wilson.
  • 25th legislative district (Puyallup): Republican Melanie Stambaugh has been steadily gaining more and more votes. As it stands now, Stambaugh has 2,998 votes and could unseat her opponent, Representative Morrell who has served in the State legislature for almost 8 years (2003-2011 and 2013-2015).
  • 26th legislative district (Gig Harbor/Port Orchard): Republican Michelle Caldier has been slowly gaining votes and now has a 242 vote lead over Democrat incumbent Representative Larry Seaquist, who has been in office since 2006.
  • 28th legislative district (Lakewood): What started out looking like a close but good race for Republican Paul Wagemann has now flipped in favor of his opponent Democrat Christine Kilduff who is leading with 240 votes.
  • 35th legislative district (Shelton/Mason County): Up until yesterday afternoon, Democrat incumbent Kathy Haigh (elected in 1998) had been leading the tight race for the 35th legislative district. But now Republican Dan Griffey has pulled ahead and has been gaining more and more votes. What was at one point a 223 lead for Haigh is now a 157 vote lead for Griffey.

We will continue to keep you updated on the election results as they come in. In the meantime, you can read our previous election results here.

Click here for daily updates on all legislative and congressional races from the Secretary of State .

2014 Election Update

Yesterday, we posted the results of the state legislative races as of election night. While none of the races for State Senate appear close enough that the winner will be determined by the late arriving ballots, we identified 6 House races.

However, as ballots were counted the day after the election, there has been movement in each of the races and in one case, a new leader

Here are some races that are still too close to decide on a winner:

  • 17th legislative district (Vancouver): Still at 51-49%, Republican Lynda Wilson is slowly gaining a lead over incumbent Democrat Monica Stonier. Yesterday’s 525 vote difference is now up to 753.
  • 25th legislative district (Puyallup): Also gaining more votes is Republican Melanie Stambaugh. Yesterday, Stambaugh was leading with 1,353 votes. Today, with close to 54% of the votes, Stambaugh is leading incumbent Democrat Dawn Morrell with over 2,000 votes.
  • 26th legislative district (Gig Harbor/Port Orchard): Republican Michelle Caldier is still leading in the 26th legislative district. Though she is close to having 50.5% of the votes, she is still ahead of her Democrat opponent, incumbent Larry Seaquist, with 232 votes. This is up from her 78 vote lead from yesterday.
  • 28th Legislative District (Lakewood): Yesterday, Republican Paul Wagemann was leading the race with 69 more votes than Democrat Christine Kilduff. Today, Kilduff has received 41 more votes than Wagemann and is now leading the race.
  • 35th legislative district (Shelton/Mason County): Democrat incumbent Kathy Haigh had a 223 vote lead over Republican Dan Griffey. While Haigh still holds the lead, the margin of votes is shrinking. What has a 223 vote lead has now become a 110 vote lead.

Click here to check the election results as the ballots continue to be counted.

Summary of Washington Election Results

The national headlines this morning are that the Republicans gained at least 8 seats in the United States Senate, 12 seats in the United States House of Representatives, and three Governor’s seats last night.

Six legislative chambers also were taken over by the GOP, leaving the national balance of power in state legislative houses at 98 to 65 in favor of Republicans. This represents the strongest Republican position at the state level since before the Great Depression.

The results in Washington State were not quite as sweeping as the national picture, but they were still significant for Republicans.

While the Washington State Senate has been governed by a bi-partisan Majority Coalition for the last two years, the Washington State Senate will now have an elected majority of Republicans.

Republican Mark Miloscia defeated Shari Song in the 30th legislative district in Federal Way to give the Republicans a 25th vote in the Senate. The Majority Coalition is still expected to have a 26-23 vote edge as Democrat Tom Sheldon also won re-election and is expected to continue caucusing with the Republicans.

The partnership between Gov. Jay Inslee and his California billionaire friend, Tom Steyer, to unseat Republican Senators appears to have failed. Steyer’s top targets, Senator’s Andy Hill (Redmond), Steve O’Ban (Lakewood), and Doug Erickson (Ferndale), all appear to have survived their well-funded challenges.

In the State House of Representatives, Democrats entered the evening with a 55-43 Majority, but Republicans appear to have gained at least two seats and are effectively tied in three other races for seats currently held by Democrats.

The Republicans do not appear to be at risk of losing any seats they currently hold.

These are the closest races to watch in the State House of Representatives:

Close Races Republicans are Leading in the House

  • Republican Lynda Wilson leads incumbent Democrat Monica Stonier 51-49% (525 votes) in the 17th (Vancouver).
  • Republican Melanie Stambaugh is leading Democrat incumbent Dawn Morrell 53% to 47%, or 1,353 votes in the 25th (Puyallup).

Dead Heat Races in the House

  • Republican Michelle Caldier is leading incumbent Democrat Larry Seaquist by 78 votes in the 26th (Gig Harbor/Port Orchard).
  • Republican Paul Wagemann is leading Democrat Christine Kilduff by 69 votes in the 28th (Lakewood). This race is for the seat vacated by Democrat Tami Green who resigned her seat to run against Steve O’Ban for the Senate.
  • Republican Dan Griffey trails incumbent Democrat Kathy Haigh by 223 votes in the 35th (Shelton/Mason County).

Close Races Democrats are Leading

  • Republican Rob Toyer trails incumbent Hans Dunshee 52-47% or 913 votes in the 44th (Mill Creek/Arlington)

These numbers will change because as much as one-half of the total ballots are thought to be outstanding in some districts. As a result, we will spend the next several days or even weeks counting ballots.

You can follow the daily updates on election results here.

If the five closest elections break for the Republicans candidates, the House of Representatives would be a 50-48 Democrat majority.

Additionally, every race that is within one-half of one percentage point after the final recount is subject to a mandatory recount.

These close races just reinforce the fact that your participation matters. Thank you for being part of the effort.

Election Day: What To Watch For

Today is Election Day!

If you still need a voter guide, click here.

If you want to find out if your friends and family has voted yet, click here.

Once the ballots have been mailed in and the results start coming in, pay close attention to what is happening around the state, along with the races in your district.

Currently, the House is made up of 55 Democrats and 43 Republicans. The Senate has 24 Republican and 25 Democrats.

However, the situation in the Senate is unique because 2 Democrats have been joining with 24 Republicans to form the Senate Coalition Majority of 26 Senators.

In this year’s election, both of the Senate seats held by Democrats who caucused with Republicans are up for election.

Democrat Senator Rodney Tom is not running for re-election in the 48th legislative district and his seat is likely to be won by a democrat who will not caucus with the Republicans.

Democrat Senator Tim Sheldon in the 35th and is generally considered to be front runner. It is expected that he will continue to caucus with the Republicans.

Here is a list of the some other races to keep an eye on.

Senate

Close races in seats held by Democrats

  • 30thlegislative district: Miloscia (R) & Song (D)
  • 44thlegislative district: Kellett (R) & Hobbs (D)

Close races in seats held by Republicans

  • 28thlegislative district: Green (D) & O’Ban (R)
  • 42ndlegislative district: Greenwood (D) & Ericksen (R)
  • 45thlegislative district: Isenhower (D) & Hill (R)

House

 Close races in seats held by Democrats

  • 17thlegislative district: Wilson (R) & Stonier (D)
  • 25thlegislative district: Stambaugh (R) & Morrell (D)
  • 26thlegislative district: Caldier (R) & Seaquist (D)
  • 33rdlegislative district: Burrage (R) & Su-Ling Gregerson (D)
  • 35thlegislative district: Griffey (R) & Haigh (D)

Close races in seats held by Republicans

  • 26th legislative district: Schlicher (D) & Young (R)
  • 44thlegislative district: Wilson (D) & Harmsworth (R)

It is likely that some of these races will not be decided for days or even weeks as late arriving ballots are counted. An analysis of some of the close races are included below as well as links to legislative and federal race results.

 

ELECTION ANALYSIS

Legislative District 17: Representative Monica Stonier (D) vs. Lynda Wilson (R)

In 2012, Representative Monica Stonier was elected by a small margin of 139 votes. Now fast-forward to this year’s primary election and Representative Stonier was trailing behind Lynda Wilson by 692 votes. Elections in the 17th legislative district have a history of winning elections by very narrow margins. In 2012, Senator Don Benton won his Senate seat with only 78 votes.

 Legislative District 26: Representative Jesse Young (R) vs. Nathan Schlicher (D)

This is a race of the Representative and the former Senator. Representative Jesse Young is running against Nathan Schlicher, who was appointed to the Senate seat at the beginning of 2013 but lost the seat later in the year to Senator Jan Angel.  Ironically, Representative Young was appointed to replace Senator Angel’s seat when she won her Senate seat in 2013.

Legislative District 28: Senator Steve O’Ban (R) vs. Representative Tami Green (D)

This is one of the three senate races funded by California billionaire, Tom Steyer, who is also a friend of Governor Inslee. However, despite being a targeted race by the Democrats, Senator O’Ban was able to keep an almost 3,000 vote lead over Representative Tami Green during the primary election. Senator O’Ban and Representative Green were seat mates for the 28th legislative district up until June 2013, when Senator O’Ban was selected to take the seat of the late Senator Mike Carrell.

Legislative District 30: Mark Miloscia (R) vs. Shari Song (D)

Mark Miloscia is a former Democratic Representative who is now running as a Republican for an open Senate seat. The Senate seat is currently held by Senator Traci Edie (D). If Mark Miloscia were to win this seat, the Senate Republicans could gain the seat they need for the majority. But if Sharon Song were to win this seat, the Senate Democrats could potentially have the votes they need to keep the majority.

Legislative District 35: Senator Tim Sheldon (D) vs. Irene Bowling (D)

In the 35th legislative district, we have a Democrat running against a Democrat. The only difference is that Senator Sheldon is part of the Majority Coalition in the Senate. Because he is part of the Majority Coalition, other Democrats are trying to replace him with another Democrat, Irene Bowling. During the primary election, Senator Sheldon trailed behind Irene Bowling by 553 votes. But the third candidate, Republican Travis Couture, had received some 9,300 votes. Chances are Senator Sheldon could get the votes he needs to keep his seat in the Senate.

Legislative District 42: Senator Doug Ericksen (R) vs. Seth Fleetwood (D)

Senator Doug Erickson has normally held a strong lead over his opponents in previous elections winning by thousands of votes. During the 2008 and 2010 primary elections, Senator Ericksen has won by at least 6,500 votes. But this year, he is one of the three Senators that Tom Steyer has been funding to replace. This has had an impact on his race, resulting in a 4,189 vote lead during the primary election. This is down from his 8,153 vote margin during the 2010 primary election. Voter turnout is greater during the general election than the primary election and in the 2008 and 2010 general elections, Senator Ericksen has won by 11,300+ votes.

Legislative District 45: Senator Andy Hill (R) vs. Matt Isenhower (D)

This is the third and final senate race the Tom Steyer is funding this election. In 2010, Senator Hill was elected with 29,606 votes (1124 more votes than his opponent). In the August primary election, Senator Hill was leading by 1919 votes, a pretty decent margin of votes. But it will be interesting to see if the support and funding from California has the impact the Democrats hope for.

Please consider this another reminder to fill out your ballot and send it in. If you need help figuring out which candidate best represents your values, visit washingtonvoterguides.com or if you are able to, text your zip code to 77039. Once you have filled out your ballot, make sure your friends and family have voted with the FPIW Vote Finder.

Remember, every vote counts. Races have been won by just a handful of votes. Do your part and vote. Washington State needs you to.

 

**Note: Although every race is important, the races listed above are some highlights from this election.

Click here for election results on legislative races.

Click here for election results on federal races.

How to Change the World in One Day

There is one day left to vote. That means there’s one day left to turn in your ballot. There’s one day left to get your voter guide. There’s one day left to find out if your friends and family have voted while there is still time to remind them.

What’s at stake if we all do nothing?

It’s hard to say.

What we know is that a bunch of races will be decided by a small number of votes.

In 2012, a state Senator was elected by 78 votes. In 2010, a state legislator was elected by 37 votes. Something similar will happen again this year.

If we all invest 30 minutes in the culture by making sure the selection of our leaders included our input, those close elections will go the way we want them to.

So send a few Facebook messages, emails, text messages or pick up a phone.

Remind your friends who haven’t yet voted to do so.

There’s no way you regret that kind of investment in the culture. But the chances of regretting the decision not to influence the culture? Well, we all kind of know what that feels like don’t we?

Just this morning I heard from another parent in Washington State concerned because their child’s school district is working on a policy to allow boys in the girl’s bathroom if he says he feels like a girl.

Bad decisions often come from bad leadership.

But you can change/avoid bad leadership in one day. Let’s do that.

What Should I Do With an Extra Hour?

One week from today, a new group of leaders will have been selected.

And for two years, they will be making life changing decisions on our behalf.

At the federal level, they’ll decide issues ranging from immigration, to health care, to laws mandating churches hire people who do not live according to their faith could all be on the table.

At the state level, our leadership will determine…

  • whether parents should know if their kids are having an abortion,
  • whether Washington State will have an income tax and/or a carbon tax,
  • whether every insurance policy should cover an abortion,
  • whether the state can tell pastors what to say in church counseling offices,
  • or whether contract surrogacy should become legal and the womb should become an item of commerce.

And that’s just the start.

Recently, in a conversation with a pastor friend, I told him that Planned Parenthood in Washington State had received more than $250 million from the state and federal government since 2008.

His response? “That’s why elections matter.”

Indeed.

They do matter.  That’s why we hope you’ll return your ballot and vote for candidates who value life, marriage, religious freedom, and parental rights.  If you need help finding out who those candidates are, go to www.WashingtonVoterGuides.com or text your zip code to 77039.  If you want to see who Planned Parenthood has endorsed, click here.  That may be just as useful.

But don’t stop there.  Too much is at stake.

Take the time in the next 5 days to make sure 10 of your friends vote as well.

This weekend is daylights savings which means we all get an extra hour.

What are you going to do with that hour?

You could spend that extra hour watching TV or sorting the sock drawer. Or, you could do something that will change the direction of our state for the next two years.

We hope you’ll use that extra hour this weekend on Vote Finder to find just ten of your like-minded friends or family to see if they have turned in their ballots yet.   You type in their first and last name, Vote Finder will tell you if they have turned in their ballot or not.

If they have, great!  Nothing else to do.

If not, make a call or send them a message asking them to turn it in as a personal favor to you.  It’s likely they’ll say yes.  But they might also say they don’t know who they should be voting for and then you can help them with that as well.

Most of us feel less informed than we should be, but conversations between friends is a great way to be more informed.

In the end, everyone will feel better. Your friends will feel more informed, they’ll feel like they did their civic duty, and you’ll know you built more support for a culture that recognizes the significance and the sanctity of the family.

An extra hour of TV or…making sure Planned Parenthood doesn’t get another quarter billion of the public’s money.  Not that hard of a decision is it?

Ten voters.  That’s a good use of a surplus hour.

 

Election: 10 Things You Need to Know

1.      Many elections will be decided by a few hundred votes: If the past is any indication, several elections this year will be decided by only a few hundred votes or less.  Since 2008, 14 races have been decided by less than 1,000 votes and 8 by less than 500 votes.  In 2012 a state Senate race was decided by only 78 votes.

2.      A California billionaire is trying to influence Washington State elections:  Tom Steyer is a billionaire from California, a friend of Gov. Jay Inslee, and very interested in Washington’s legislative races.  He has committed at least $1 million to defeating legislators he sees as obstacles to accomplishing his environmental goals.

3.      That billionaire is spending most of his money turning out voters, not on commercials:  While there is no shortage of negative campaigning (is there ever?), Tom Steyer is not spending most of his money on advertising.  Instead, he has hired people to walk the streets of the districts he is interested and identify which voters will vote the way he wants and which ones won’t. Then, his money will be used to hire additional people to make sure the people he wants to vote actually do.

4.      To win, a candidate will need about 15% of the district to vote for him/her:  Only 66% of the people in the typical legislative district are eligible to vote.  Only 44% are registered to vote and only 29% vote in a typical mid-term election.  That means, the winning candidate needs approximately 15% of the district to vote for him/her in order to win.

5.      You can find out if your friends and family have voted before the election is over:  For the first time in Washington State history, it is now possible to find out if your friends and family have voted from your home on the internet.  This makes it easier than ever to make sure people who think like you are well represented in the election. To see if your friends and family have voted, visit www.fpiw.org/votefinder.

6.      You can get your voter guide by texting your zip code to 77039:  FPIW has created an exciting voter guide that reveals candidates’ positions on issues, who they are endorsed by, and who they are getting money from.

7.      There are two gun initiatives on the ballot:  There are two initiatives on this year’s ballot deal with gun rights, I-594 & I-591.  Both have to do with what is required in order to transfer ownership of a firearm.  I-594 is sponsored by gun control groups and I-591 is sponsored by groups that claim to support the rights of gun owners, though there is dispute within the gun rights community over whether it is actually helpful.  For information on those initiatives and other ballot issues you can click here.

8.      There are no statewide candidates on the ballot:  This year, there are no races involving candidates running for statewide office (U.S. Senate, Governor, Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor, etc…).  This makes it likely that voter turnout will be lower than expected.

9.      The current majority in the House of Representatives was decided by less than 5,000 votes:  The Washington State House of Representatives currently has 55 Democrats and 43 Republicans.  The total number of votes separating the closest 6 races in 2012 that could have changed the balance of power in the House of Representatives was 5,000.

10.   Some Elections won’t be decided for days…maybe weeks:  Washington is a mail-in ballot state.  However, it is not necessary that ballots be received by Election Day, only that they be post-marked by Election Day.  This means that in the closest elections, it could be weeks before the final ballots have been tallied and weeks more if recounts are necessary.

Forcing Churches to Pay for Abortions

The internet has helped us all develop a healthy skepticism.  We read certain headlines and automatically assume they’re either misleading or totally false.

Sure, I have my concerns with President Obama, but I’m not buying that he’s now the High Priest of the Church of Satan.

Then there are other stories that we hope are fake only to find out that they’re actually true.

There were two of those this week.

First, in England, British education officials have told a Christian school that they are violating the “British value” of “tolerance” because only Christians are providing the instruction at their Christian school.

That’s like having art classes taught by actual artists. We can’t have that.

The school was told “to invite a leader from another religion, such as an imam, to lead assemblies.”

This new policy was a response to a scandal in which several government schools in Birmingham, England had been taken over by Muslim managers who began using them for Islamic instruction.

So…their response to too much Islamic instruction in government schools is apparently to require Islamic instruction in Christian schools.

If they refused to provide non-Christian instruction for their students, the school was told it could be downgraded or even closed.

“But that’s in England,” you say.  “Here in the United States we still respect religious freedom.”

Or maybe not.

The other story comes from the land of fruits and nuts — California.

The state of California has decided that churches must now pay for elective abortions.

Not businesses or not private individuals, which would be bad enough.  Churches.

At the urging of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which once defended religious freedom and individual rights, the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) has decided that elective abortions must be covered under “basic health services”.

As a result, insurance companies have begun notifying churches that abortion must be included in their insurance coverage.

This is precisely the outcome many in the Washington State legislature have been working toward for three years unsuccessfully.  But, having failed in the legislature, we should probably be looking out for rule changes from bureaucrats to accomplish the same purpose.

You know, if at first you don’t succeed, just circumvent the democratic process.

For those who live in California, this new change creates the bizarre situation where federal law protects their right not to pay for chemical abortions but state law is forcing them to pay for surgical abortions.

Obviously the elected officials in California know this violates the beliefs of millions of people in their state.  But here’s an important point to remember.

They don’t care.

The abortion industry helps them get elected.  People in churches don’t.  Ergo, the abortion industry wins.

Of course litigation will result.  We pray that some vestiges of the right to the free exercise of religion will remain.

Nevertheless, here we are.

In the very recent past, the left has been hysterical in explaining the need to maintain a rigid separation between church and state.  But that separation seems to be less important now if it would mean limiting the state from controlling the church.

Remember, just last week pastors in Houston were told to turn over their sermons on homosexuality and same-sex “marriage” to the government.

If you stayed out of the debate because you want to coexist with those who disagree with you remember this: they don’t want to coexist.  At least not the ones driving the political agenda.

They want you gone. They want you in the closet they claim to have resented so much.  They want the punishment for coming out of that closet to be so severe that you choose to keep your narrow-minded, hateful religion to yourself. For good.

Once that happens, they’re sure everyone will be happy.

After all, the only reason women feel bad about abortions or kids feel conflicted about their same-sex attraction is because of bigots like us.

Yes, they’re wrong.  But that doesn’t matter if the ones who know they’re wrong step aside and let them pass. It is possible to have peace through surrender, but then you’re the vanquished.  As Ronald Reagan always said, peace through strength is much, much better.  So be strong.

There is an election in 11 days.  The people who are elected will determine which direction Washington goes with respect to conscience rights, religious freedom, and real tolerance.

Be an informed voter and make sure your friends are as well.  If you see that they haven’t voted yet, send them a reminder.

Let’s not be California.

If You Value It, Take Care of It

I think most of us who are parents live in perpetual fear that we’re doing it wrong. Aware of our own problems, we feel inadequate to help another independent, moral agent do it right.

So naturally, we scour social media for tips on how to do it better.

Typically, that makes us feel even worse because you discover that basically everyone is more organized, better in the kitchen, more disciplined, and generally having more fun with their kids than you are with yours.

But recently, I came across something that I thought was actually quite helpful. It was a simple but profound list of house rules. Things like…

“If you open it, close it.”

“If you break it, admit and fix it.”

“If you’re done with it, put it back.”

Then I got to this one: “If you value it, take care of it”.

First I thought about my kids. The frustration of watching your kid roll around in the bushes in brand new clothes or finding the toy that just yesterday they couldn’t live without in the remains of the grass clippings is real. How important can it really be to them if they make no effort to maintain it?

Then it occurred to me that the adults might have something to learn from this as well.

What are the things we say we value but don’t spend much time taking care of? Our marriages? Our kids? Our freedoms?

According to George Barna, during the 2012 general election, 12 million people who consider themselves to be born again Christians were not registered to vote. Another 26 million were registered but did not vote. That’s 38 million potential votes on the table.

Filling out a ballot is not exactly doing your taxes. It’s actually pretty easy. The lack of involvement suggests it’s not a priority.

But maybe the fact that we aren’t tending to it is a function of the fact that we don’t value it.

There could be an explanation for that as well.

My generation has been taught repeatedly that America is an imperialist nation that has profited primarily through exploitation of those less powerful.

We’ve been told that our Founding Fathers really didn’t know that much. After all, if you had slaves, how much respect do you deserve?

The idea that there is anything to learn from the way we lived in the 1950’s? Please. The Civil Rights Act wasn’t passed until 1964.

Honor explorers/invaders from Europe? Not in Seattle. Columbus Day has given way to Indigenous People’s Day because history has decided Christopher Columbus did some bad things. (Which is undeniably true of him as it is of all of us).

Apparently, Indigenous People, unlike Italians, have always been only virtuous.

The point is not to whitewash our history or suggest there aren’t plenty of things to improve upon. If you won’t acknowledge your mistakes the chances of repeating them are much greater.

But we seem to be at a point where saying good things about America—particularly its history—is an act of partisanship.

No person, government, movement, or organization of any significance will look good if the story of our lives features only our worst moments.

The need to emphasize the negative has had an impact. At least some students at Harvard believe the United States is a greater threat to world peace than ISIS.

Just wow.

Dinesh D’Souza discovered that making a movie arguing for the goodness of America gets you banned from Costco. Oddly, Michael Moore never had that issue.

Today I won’t try to make the case for why the idea of America is worth fighting for.

But if you are one who needs no convincing, help us do some maintenance.

Remember the house rules: If you value it, take care of it.

There’s an election in three weeks.

Most of the people you know have no idea who they should be voting for.

Help them with that. Send them to www.WashingtonVoterGuides.com so they can become educated or have them text their zip code to 77039 to receive their voter guide over the phone.

A lot of people will need a reminder to vote as well. Put 10 friends or family members who share your values on your Vote Finder account. We’ll tell you if their ballot has been turned in before the election is over. Yep. If you want to check in and make sure your kids, pastor, or neighbors have turned in their ballot the weekend before the election, you can.

If we all make sure 10 people besides ourselves vote, the world will look a lot different very quickly.

Many of the state legislative races that will be decided in three weeks will be decided by only a few hundred votes…or less. We’ll make a difference if we decide we want to.

Let’s set a good example for our kids. If you value it, take care of it.