The ferment in the Middle East is about a lot of things – but one thing that marks the uprisings in each of the various nations in turmoil is that citizens are looking for more of a voice in their own lives – for a chance to be heard.

Citizens in New Jersey do not have to take to the streets (although local residents participating in the Occupy Wall St. movement may have another view on this matter). On Nov. 8, we will have an opportunity to make ourselves heard through the ballot box.

As we can see from the differing political views espoused by our candidates (see our special electoral website: http://jstandardelect.wordpress.com), we have a choice.

Positions are well-defined – and diverse. We cannot complain that our particular views are not represented and use that as an excuse to ignore the election.

In the 2010 general election, out of 5,811,886 eligible voters in New Jersey, some 2,200,974 residents actually turned out to vote, according to the United States Election Project. That is not so bad, when you consider the country as a whole. Out of 218,054,301 U.S. citizens eligible to vote in that election, only some 90,682,968 took advantage of the opportunity.

What can we say that has not been heard before?

Perhaps we should take a look at the articles on page 17, reminding us of the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women to maintain the very right so many of us choose to ignore with abandon. Perhaps we should look at this newspaper’s recent cover story detailing the challenges facing our community as many members enter their senior years (or the front page story that appeared the following Sunday in the Record). Perhaps we should appeal to our self-interest and that of our readers: After all, candidates’ positions on social services, budget-cutting, and church-state relations affect us all.

Whatever the reason, let us all seize the moment to choose our own course. Visit our website, http://jstandardelect.wordpress.com, and the website of the candidates running in your area. Then vote on Nov. 8 for the candidates who best reflect your views.