Nov. 3, America heads to the voting booth. The right to vote exercised and cherished by generations of Americans. My maternal great-grandparents, Calvin Archer and Olive Pike-Archer, were such examples.

Hard-working, sharecropping dirt farmers from Missouri. When opportunity called, they moved to Oklahoma, staked a claim and worked the land with their own hands. Their first home was a dirt dugout carved into the side of a hill.

Their dream, to make an abundant life as Oklahoma farmers. They didn’t ask for government help — rather through grit, determination and hard work they plowed forward. The family worked and achieved together. Their farmhands, their 10 children; among them my grandmother Nola and great-uncle Buck.

Seven great-uncles from the Archer and Walker clans fought totalitarianism in WWII. All survived the war; two seriously wounded, one in Sicily and another in Italy. I remember my great-uncle Fletcher (a Bronze Star recipient) suffered from shellshock that tormented him every night he slept reliving a devastating Nazi artillery barrage on his unit.

American patriots who shared one common virtue, raw courage. Americans willing to pay the ultimate price in order to preserve and protect from tyranny the rights and freedom of all Americans.

Today our country’s politicians and billionaire provocateurs manipulate an unfortunate aspect of history, divide and conquer. Their strategy to entice chaos and dissension fully deployed in 2020.

On Nov. 3, Americans can continue the “new normal” of authoritarian control or vote for rugged individualism defined by personal liberty, independence and courage.

Vote to live free.

Frank Klonoski

St. Simons Island

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