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On our nation's birthday, I reflected on my heroes, those people who help to build strength in our society.

I thought about teachers who weave in lessons about bullying; men who respect women; journalists who work hard to report truths; parents who teach their kids polite manners; pastors who exude grace; concerned climate scientists who fight for the environment; people who welcome diversity; groups that show respect for all opinions; mothers who teach their kids not to use insults or vulgar language; humble people who show quiet strength; workers who cooperate to solve differences; and honest, compassionate people grounded in love.

Principled conservatives are heroes too, those who still maintain values of small government, strong families and fiscal restraint. I also honor principled liberals with values of openness, human rights, and the inherent dignity and worth of every person.

Americans are good, strong and independent people. But in order to remain strong and vibrant, we need to elect politicians of high moral fiber, those who stay true to American values of kindness, decency and respect. We cannot afford to excuse unacceptable behavior. The real heroes in this country are open-minded people who vote with their heads and their hearts.

Nancy Teggeman,


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