...Did you get out and vote?
I did. My polling place is conveniently located on my way home on my morning school bus imitation. Okay, just a block up to the next stop sign from where I usually turn, and I had the inconvenience of having to make a u-turn to go back to the parking lot entrance, but I figure I can suffer through the trauma of driving a block beyond my usual turn and making a u-turn in order to exercise my favorite American Muscle---the Voting Muscle.
I remember taking my boys to the polls with me when they were little. We lived in Maryland and the polling places were the schools, so there'd be no school on Election Day. I figured it's never too early to teach civic responsibility to my kids, so instead of waiting until my husband was home from work and then going to vote, I'd haul all 3 along with me. My middle son once asked me, "Why do you vote?"
My answer was the first thing that popped into my head. "So I have the right to complain about it later. If I don't vote, I don't have the right to complain about the outcome."
The Great American Pastime of Pissing and Moaning Because We Don't Like What's Happening in DC/Senator Whosey Whatsit/FILL IN THE BLANK. We all do it. For eight years, those among us who weren't in love with George W. Bush pissed and moaned about him. Now people are pissing and moaning about Barrack Obama. Can't make 100% of the people happy 100% of the time. It just isn't possible.
I'd like to think there are other reasons to vote, besides earning the right to piss and moan (it's an offensive phrase, yes, but some of the p and m'ing I've heard lately is just as offensive to me, so there we are---offended for various reasons. I say let's have some chocolate and try to get over it, shall we?). What other reasons could there possibly be to vote?
1. It's our right as American citizens.
2. ...that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. How about the men and women who've served in the military and/or died defending our way of life?
3. It's how we make our voices heard. If our beliefs really mean so much to us, how can we, in good conscience, keep quiet?
We all have the right, duty and obligation to participate as citizens of this great country of ours, but it astounds me how many won't vote. "I'm showing I'm mad at them all by not voting. I'm taking a stand here." Um. That I don't get at all. How is "them" supposed to know you're upset with "them" if you don't vote? "Them" are telepaths? "Gee, Suzie Mufflewumps didn't vote because she's mad at me. I hereby resolve to do better." Vote the bums out! Start a referendum and recall the bum! But don't sit there on your complacent po-po and piss and moan because "This country's going to hell" when you couldn't even motivate yourself to VOTE! Yeah.
Make your voice heard.
Every citizen of this country should be guaranteed that their vote matters, that their vote is counted, and that in the voting booth, their vote has a much weight as that of any CEO, any member of Congress, or any President. ~Barbara Boxer
If American women would increase their voting turnout by ten percent, I think we would see an end to all of the budget cuts in programs benefiting women and children.
~Coretta Scott King
Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.
~Franklin D. Roosevelt
Thinking isn't agreeing or disagreeing. That's voting. ~Robert Frost
Voting is a civic sacrament. ~Theodore Hesburgh
Voting is fundamental in our democracy. It has yielded enormous returns. ~Arlen Specter
Voting is the foundational act that breathes life into the principle of the consent of the governed. ~DeForest Soaries
Voting is the most precious right of every citizen, and we have a moral obligation to ensure the integrity of our voting process. ~Hillary Clinton
(Voting quotes above from HERE.)
A final thought. I won't say who or where, but I read something that bothered me profoundly. Someone said her kids' votes canceled her vote and her husband's vote. I've been watching the political scene this election season, been keeping an eye on it since the 2008 elections, actually, and this comment voices, for me, a problem that's grown on the political front. The partisanship is spiraling out of control. There are politicians on news shows saying "We won't compromise..." Great.Congress has turned into that mythical Dr. Dolittle critter, the PushMe-PullYou---everyone is so dead set on being "right" that their way is the "only way" that there's no room for compromise, no one is willing to play and share their toys together on the playground.
You know who we really need to elect into both houses of Congress?
It's turned into a huge daycare center there in Congress. When Nancy Reagan urged us to Just Say No, she meant to DRUGS, not to working together for the common purpose we all share: the betterment of our country. Wouldn't it be something if we could get all the ideological extremes to meet in the middle and start working from what our similarities are, rather than from our differences? Capitalize on the positive, neutralize the negative and work from what we ALL have in common.
Whether you vote