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The least that you can do is cast a ballot

I will have more to say on the subject in a few weeks, but your response to my request for supplies for Marine Lt. Frank Wilson and his Light Armored Reconnaissance unit in Afghanistan has been nothing short of spectacular. I talked recently to Lt. Wilson's father - also Frank - an attorney in Cobb County, to let him know what you have done. He is very grateful to you.

Lt. Wilson and his troops are somewhere in the southern portion of the Helmud province of Afghanistan. His dad says he has had two brief conversations with his son over the past two months via satellite phone, their only means of communication. There are no roads, no power, no running water, no sanitation, but plenty of Taliban. The temperature is approaching 120 degrees this time of year and the Marines are wearing 80 pounds of body armor. The supplies you are providing must be air-dropped to them. It is likely that the unit won't be coming out of that hellhole until September. Frank Wilson says you should be hearing from his son at some point in the future, but be patient. They have their hands full at the moment.

Meanwhile, back in the good ol' USA, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are ready to square off to see who will become this nation's 44th president. We could not have two more different choices.

Barack Obama not only could not have run for president of the United States when I was a kid, he couldn't have drunk from the same water fountains I did, attended the same schools I did or sat beside me on the bus. His nomination says we are getting beyond race in the country. Of course, if Obama doesn't win, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and their ilk will scream racism, and the liberal media will be willing accomplices. However, most whites I have talked to who say they won't vote for Sen. Obama are more concerned with his politics than with his skin color. These same people didn't vote for John Kerry four years ago for the same reason. Kerry, if I remember correctly, was a white guy.

Speaking of John Kerry, he tried to sell himself as more of a war hero than he was and got exposed for the political opportunist he is. John McCain doesn't have that problem. He spent five-and-a-half years in a Vietnamese prison and was brutally tortured for much of that time. When his father was named commander of U.S. forces in the Vietnam area, McCain was offered early release in an obvious propaganda ploy, but he turned it down. He would go only if every prisoner taken in before him was released as well. The offer, of course, was refused, and McCain continued to suffer abuse from his captors until his ultimate release. He is one tough cookie.

As stated previously, I have dealt with Sen. McCain in the past and found him unpleasant and intemperate, but I admire his determination. His candidacy was all but written off a year ago by most people, but McCain persevered and won the Republican nomination in a romp. Whether you like him or not, don't bet against him.

So the major candidates have been chosen. The rest is up to us. We will get to elect our nation's leader this November. Voting in free elections is a privilege not available to a lot of people in the world. Yet many of us won't make the effort, insulting the memory of those Americans who paid the ultimate price for us to live in a free society.

Which brings me again to Lt. Frank Wilson. He and his men are enduring tremendous hardships in Afghanistan, doing what they must do so that you and I back home can do what we should do. I would hate for him to return only to discover that we are too darn apathetic, lazy or stupid to care about who becomes president of the United States and our commander in chief. He and his troops not only need our supplies and our prayers, but they also need to believe we were worth the effort.

E-mail columnist Dick Yarbrough at yarb2400@bellsouth.net.