EDITORIAL: A practical to-do list for Oct. in Pa.

York Dispatch Editorial Board

As the days grow shorter and cooler — and, in the political world, angrier and more chaotic — there are a few items that should be on every Pennsylvanian’s to-do list this month.

Think of it as a short checklist to improve mind, body and spirit.

Number one: Get a flu shot.

We know; this hasn’t exactly been made any easier of late in York City, where officials first changed the location of a scheduled free flu clinic, then had to cancel it altogether when the vaccines didn’t arrive.

But fear not: It will be rescheduled. And there are plenty of other locations that offer vaccines, from workplaces to pharmacies to countywide clinics, often at little or no charge.

The flu season is getting off to a slow start this year, so take advantage of the respite and get that shot.

Number two: Get registered. To vote, that is, if you haven’t already done so.

The deadline in Pennsylvania is 30 days before the election. That means unregistered would-be voters hoping to cast ballots in November have until Monday, Oct. 7, to register.

It couldn’t be easier. You can do it online, though traditional mail, in person at the country registration office or even at a state Department of Transportation location.

And it couldn’t be more significant. Having a voice in who fills local, county, school district, state and federal offices is one of the bulwark rights — and responsibilities — of living in a free democracy. It’s also a civic duty.

Remember, it’s not just candidates on the Nov. 5 ballot. A statewide referendum on Marsy’s Law, a measure to add specific rights to crime victims, is among the decisions facing voters. Also on the ballot: a four-way race for two seats on the Pennsylvania Superior Court and a handful of candidates facing retention or recall.

With a presidential election year right around the corner, there’s no excuse for not being registered — and then making your voice heard at the ballot box.

Which brings us to item number three: Get on the road.

It’s leaf-peeping season and if that seems a tad staid, well, that’s exactly the point.

That angry, chaotic political world referenced above isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, the nation is likely in for an extended battle that will further widen partisan divisions (if such a thing is possible) and test the very foundations of our Constitution.

A little disengagement will be not only healthy but necessary. The good news is, you’re in the perfect place to do that. Pennsylvania, as the good folks at VacationIdea.com remind us, “is almost entirely covered with mountains, rolling hills, ridges, and plateaus.” In other words, the perfect canvas for the colorful display mother nature puts on every autumn.

And the perfect antidote to the chaos and cacophony that has become Washington, D.C.

So, hit the road this month and take in a little peaceful Pennsylvania scenery. Right after you get that flu shot and register to vote.

Fall Foliage train rides are happening throughout October at the Ma & Pa Railroad Heritage Village.