Most of the time I do not blog about politics. We are closing in on election day. My long ago ancestors cherished the right to vote. I, like most citizens walk in the footsteps and stand on the shoulders of those who came to this country to have a better life, vote, participate, and have a voice. My grandmothers, great-aunts, those who voted for the 19th amendment, and those who urged them to do so say, “You’re welcome”—and I say to them: “thank you”. The men and women who came before us—in recent or long-ago generations—sacrificed. They used their voices, hearts, voices, and actions.
We must do the same. The recent damage from Tropical Storm Sandy may make voting difficult. I pray that accommodations will be made so that every vote will be cast and counted.
Tuesday, November 6th, it is voting day. Decisions will be made. Fingers may be pointed, and people may demand to know how others voted and why. Shrieks might be heard about fraud. It seems to be the way it is these days, unfortunately. One will win, another will lose. Maybe this time the winners will seek to play nice with the losers. I can hope that will be the case. Maybe each side will let the other save face and have some of what they want. Maybe we can stop bickering about whose facts are best. Maybe, just maybe, things will run smoothly.
My Irish-American grandfather (who was a brilliant officer and defense attorney) said that when you have a right that you do not bother to exercise, that right can eventually be taken from you. It happens just a little bit at a time. Thus, I consider not only voting to be a precious right, but the secret ballot as well.
In this day and age of identity theft (and I speak as one personally affected) there are so few secrets. But the SECRET BALLOT is guaranteed. So when asked by pollsters (on the phone or in person) “who did you vote for” my answer is different than those they have come to expect. I either say “it is a secret ballot” or if I am feeling clever, I say “I voted for the candidates I believe stand for what is important”.
I am grateful that no matter how powerful any faction becomes, my voice will not and can not be silenced. On election day, no one but me gets to decide what is important to me. My voice and my opinion may or may not be the majority. The candidates I believe in may or may not win. My candidate(s) may or may not prevail.
But I will vote; I will work for what I believe in. In that voting booth no one will witness, point fingers, call me names, or judge me. Just me and that beautiful ballot.No pundits, no robo-calls, no loud mouthed fools will join you in our voting booth. The voting booth; it is our government’s cathedral, although those who govern may not realize it. I am the government, and so are you. As my dad used to say on a long car trip “kids, you are stuck with each other. Make the best of it and quit bickering”. If only we could quit bickering.
Politicians and pundits and general folks may seek to alienate, minimize, or vilify those with whom they disagree. I think that is a lousy way to handle things. I do not know what name callers hope to accomplish by what I see as bullying. Do you tend to agree more with people that make you feel like crap, or does that repel you? Do you suddenly say “oh, regarding this principle/program/policy or other thing that is really important to my heart and entire being….hmmm since this person or that person says my beliefs or ideas are stupid or clueless, I guess I will now side with them”? Do you say to yourself, “I guess since they are calling a candidate (who has goals that I think are really important) some very horrible names, I guess I will change my mind?” It definitely does not work that way with me. When people speak that way about what I believe in, and are dismissive and minimizing, I know that I cannot be at home in that group.
I was on the speech team and debate team. I wasn’t successful, and I didn’t manage to be remarkably persuasive. I did learn, though, that no one can make me walk away from my principles. So when it comes to discussions, I can definitely tell the difference between reasonable discussion, passionate discussion, and nasty, minimizing discussion.
So step into the voting cathedral. It matters. It really, really matters. Please….go vote….get your voice out there. Win or lose, no matter what…we can resolve the problems in our nation…..if working together with consideration for the other side becomes our goal. So….vote…vote…..vote. We are at a crossroads.
There is good in each party and candidate. Do not be bullied into a viewpoint or a corner. You know your heart, you know what is important to you. It is never a wasted vote if you vote what is in your heart. Our hearts and souls matter. Our vote matters. Vote even if the electoral college votes in your state seem to be a foregone conclusion.
Why? I will tell you why. We vote because we can. Do not let ANYONE convince you that it doesn’t matter. It DOES matter. It matters, and so do you. In that hushed silence of the voting booth, stop and breathe. Every vote is historic.
All of the pollsters, pundits, ads, and mailings will be left in the dust. Your vote is yours. It is precious. From presidential candidates to local candidates, from referendums to tax issues to school bond issues to whatever else, here is your chance for your voice to be expressed. Keep the pollsters guessing. Make them count every doggone vote.
Vote! It is a beautiful and precious right and privilege.