“The Charge of the Light Brigade” is an 1854 narrative poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. It is a poem about a failed military maneuver in which 600 men would perish because their leader made a mistake.

Some of you may have seen the movie “The Blind Side,” in which the poem is referenced. The father is using it to inspire his adoptive son, Michael Oher, to write about something meaningful. As he recites the poem, “Not though the soldier knew someone had blundered….” to which Michael replies, “Someone made a mistake? They are all going to die aren’t they?” His father bows his head a little, “Yeah, their leader…” Michael continues, “But why would they go ahead when they knew he had messed up?” His father continues the poem, “theirs not to make reply…not to reason why….”

Michael tries to reason this in his own mind, “Didn’t at least one of the 600 think about changing sides? He wrestles with defining courage and honor. He concludes, “Hope for courage and try for honor and pray for the ones that are telling you what to do have some too.”

This scene kept coming to my mind at this time in history, just days before we will make a vote with importance we have not seen before. Do we follow our allegiance to a party even if the leader has messed up repeatedly or do we take control and change sides for the sake of not only our own lives, but the lives of all our fellow Americans.

One thing I always admired about Americans through the years, was our ability to come together during all kinds of difficulties, tragedies and challenges and pull together for the greater good of all. I miss that so much. We are fragmented and although some are still going about doing good, the majority are turning on one another taking sides. That is not the America I know and love.

We have enjoyed the freedom of being able to agree to disagree, but when we start warring with one another, well we know from history how that turned out, and like the Light Brigade, the outcome could have been avoided.

I know there are people who feel they would seem weak to change their vote now, their loyalty to their party has meant for them camaraderie, pride or solidarity, but at what cost to others? In the end we are responsible for our actions and place in history which has the ability to negatively impact our families, our neighbors and all of our futures.

Would you question the person making the decisions if they were leading you to death like the Light Brigade or would you just go along with it for loyalty to a leader?

This is the decision – do you vote for someone who is leading America deeper into death or do you vote for a leader with some real courage and honor who wants to bring Americans back together as the people who worked together respecting one another’s freedom to agree to disagree without fear?

Susan Colón,

Lewisburg

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