As Rochester elementary school students, my boys followed the “Bamber Valley Way”, the school’s code of conduct (several years ago). It consisted of a trifold mantra:

1. We Take Care of Our Place.

2. We Take Care of Others.

3. We Take Care of Ourselves.

Bamber’s behavior guide may be helpful to voters. Which political party takes better care, by way of public policy? Arrive at an answer by considering each category:

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Place: Consider our air and water, oceans and wildlife, national parks and regional nature preservations, energy sources, and climate. Consider our infrastructure: highways and bridges, public transportation, and structures within our cities and towns. Consider your own comfort as well as your physical home and community spaces.

Others: Consider fairness in the context of environmental justice, access to health care, concentration of power, social programs, public education, affordable housing, etc. How are others affected by the ubiquity of guns? Since we humans derive satisfaction from helping others, consider the people around you. Are they struggling? What are their problems and concerns?

Ourselves: Consider yourself: How will the outcome of this election affect you? Will there be an impact on your health – physical/mental/spiritual/financial? How are you, personally, affected by the ubiquity of guns? How do you cope with being an American? What would make it easier and more fulfilling to be American?

Vote proudly by carefully considering how public policy (created by people you choose to govern!) translates into how well we care for our place, others, and ourselves.

Kristen Shah, Rochester