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It Was a Perfect World

I was eleven when I got two pet Guinea pigs. I named one Senator and the other Governor (I was taken by politics at an early age).

I just hated that I only had a cage to lock them up in, so I built, what was for them, at least in my child’s mind, a paradise.

I spent the day digging in the dirt in our back yard. I had become so filthy when I was done that my mother made me take off all my clothes at the back door, but I had built Guinea Pig Heaven: a monstrous hole, seven feet wide and almost two feet deep, complete with caves, little tunnels and old wooden shingle bridges.

I watched them for hours before going to bed, as they explored every passageway and ramp to make sure they could not escape, and they couldn’t. They couldn’t escape even in the middle of that night, when the neighbor’s cat arrived.

Unintended consequences can be horrific.


I do not imagine that there were many votes in the last election that were not well intentioned and hopeful that their results would make our world, if not paradise, at least better. But almost to a person, everyone I know, everyone I meet and talk to during my travels is upset.

It does not matter whether they be conservative or liberal: They all seem, “Mad as Hell and aren’t going to take it anymore.”

Americans have always had differences of opinion about health care, a balanced budget, the environment, guns, abortion, education, etc., but we have rarely been so angrily ripped apart.


What has changed us so? Some point at the President, some the Congress, and some the media. From where I stand the answer seems simple: It is the facts, or rather the lack of them, the lack of a resource to which a conservative or liberal can turn to, in confidence, for truth.

It is that which keeps me, and all of us at VoteSmart.org so committed to our goal of collecting the facts that reality is so dependent upon.


A free people that finds lies acceptable, will not remain free for long.


On behalf of myself, your staff, your interns and volunteers and the almost 10,000 of them that have given of their time over so many years to sustain that reality, thank you, a thousand times thank you for having our backs.

The millions who do not yet know what you have been building at Vote Smart owe you a great debt.

My very best wishes to us all in this coming election.



Richard Kimball

Vote Smart President

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