Why Vote? A Humble Answer

This morning began before the sun had risen. My oldest son woke up the younger son resulting in a symphony of “Mama” in both verbal and nonverbal terms.  As I navigated the early hours between fixing coffee, breakfast for the family and dressing the children as well as myself, the silent question drifted through my mind: “How will I make it through the day?”

It was late morning by the time I was in the car with my children to start on the errands and adventures ahead of us for this otherwise ordinary Tuesday.  As I was watching the traffic for the safe moment to crossover I saw them.  The people waving on the side of the road with flags and political signs.  My mind again rattling off: “Crapp. It’s voting day. I don’t even know who and what for except for a couple of signs I’ve seen on the road in the past several weeks.”

As it turned out, our first item on our schedule would take me right past my voting precinct.  Internally I react: “I have to stop, of course I don’t want to deal with it since I’ve the boys with me and have no help, no distraction for them. I have to explain this play-by-play to my four-year-old and God knows I am exhausted already of doing so all morning as it is! But I have the right to vote.  I don’t have a paycheck-paying job but I work my mind, body and heart out everyday 24/7 and I can participate in having a say who is to sit on that circuit judge seat(s) and who will be our tax collector and eventually by this fall who I think has my confidence in leading our nation as the President of the United States. I have to turn in to this gated community to go and vote.”

As I pulled up to the security gate and gave my name and purpose, the guard lady gave me a warm smile and assurance that no one had really passed through recently and so I should be in and out quickly.  Perhaps it was the dinosaur Raptor-like screech she heard from my 17 month old or the constant “Mama, mama…” from my other son while I was stopped there that prompted her to give me the kind encouragement.  I did appreciate her candor.

Once at the voting place situated at the Ibis Country Club community clubhouse area, I saw the campaign people and signs again and took care to avoid them.  It was nothing against them personally, it’s just I already had my hands full as I was unloading the boys and picking up the food particles, books, toys and other random projectiles that catapulted out of our vehicle with each door that I was opening. I decided immediately that placing the baby in my back carrier was the best idea while holding my other son’s hand and making a game of running up to the clubhouse through the carefully manicured grass: oops, sorry Ibis.

Thankfully, the guard lady was right. No one was in the voting area except for the presiding volunteers.  After working out where my ballot was I found myself at the privacy booth with my boys by the window where they would look out and watch the activity at the golf course. I looked at the ballot and was slightly baffled, there were literally only two names I recognized on this ballot and that’s only because one I’ve known in my Greek-American local community and the other because I’m used to seeing them as the incumbent.

Enter inner debate with embellishment as I write this: “I’m so embarrassed with myself, I haven’t been paying attention and I made no effort to even try to look up some of these folks before I came here.  Yet, I’m here damn it.  I don’t have the luxury of time and although it may seem irresponsible to vote blindly for the most part, at the very least I am exercising my right to vote and if everyone did so it would be amazing to see the results.  Sometimes people making it in by sheer chance may be better than the ones everyone thinks will win.”

I understand that there are people reading this that will feel much differently and perhaps even group me into being part of the problem when it comes to the voting turnouts.  But try to hear me out one more time on this argument that it’s better to vote than not at all.

Everyone who is eligible to vote should because we can and if we all would in this country then truly the blame and disdain for whatever goes “wrong” in the government would be a shared responsibility by the nation’s citizens for placing these men and women in power and we could enact swift change when and as needed.  Our political campaign history has shown that when the voting population is galvanized to vote even just 5-10% more than what the average turnout is, political machines and pre-determined incumbent victors fall to the wayside in a delirious dusting like the shift I weathered as a Legislative Assistant on Capitol Hill in a Republican office in the mid-term elections of 2006.

As for today, it turned out to be a local primary election.  Small potatoes but still a part of the construction of what are local offices are to look like by November this year.  I was given a voting ballot with my party affiliation and the simple instructions to connect the arrow pointing to my respective selections.  It was easy to vote for the two persons I knew, my next step was to vote for all women since my political passion is to help bring more women into the mix as we are still under-represented.

The boys were squirming by the end but I was grateful that they weathered this adventure well and that if anything they are witnessing continuously that mommy feels this is important to do no matter what the mood or weather of the particular voting day may be.  I do admit the following mental note: try to plan ahead for absentee ballots for voting days when possible.

My random voting day ended with a laugh as I drove out of the parking lot I recognized one of the names I had voted for and decided to roll down my window and speak to the lady there: “Are you Jaimie?” She answered that she wasn’t.  “Is Jaimie a woman?”  The lady had stood at this point and replied with a big smile, “No, but he’s a good man!”  I chuckled at this fly luck for this candidate as judging by her tone she had encountered this question as to his gender many times before.  “Well, good for him because I voted for him because I thought he was a woman!”  We both laughed and wished each other a nice day.

R.V.S.Bean

Post-note:

A colleague of mine made a very good suggestion via a comment to this blog posting: as long as your vote ballot is still counted, you can just vote for whatever/whoever you know. Case in point being the state amendments that end up on ballo…

ts–better to skip voting on that amendment if you don’t know its consequences. That being said, I still feel it’s important to come out and vote even if you end up only picking one thing/person on the ballot than not vote at all.

Four More Years? Yes, He Can.

We can acknowledge that history repeats itself in our human society here on Earth. Those who weave a successful future usually have studied history well and focused on what worked well so that they can ensure a positive outcome in their own lives. Enter here: President Barack Obama. This man has played the cards of political fate with such precision that he is securing his legacy as our POTUS (President of the United States) and tenure for four more years until 2016.

I was unable to watch his State of the Union address earlier this week but was able to read the transcript. You can go to this link for its entirety in text form: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/stateoftheunion2011.htm

Whatever your political bend is, you must realize and note that President Obama is effectively taking a page out of President Reagan’s playbook of how-to when the Executive Branch no longer holds dominance on Capitol Hill. House Speaker John Boehner will be Mr. Obama’s Tip O’Neill.

As the media mix of cable networks, radio and freelancers that blog like myself churn away with our opinions and rebuttals, the fact remains that the American people overall only care to cling to a positive, unifying message. The mad cocktail-gone-bad that has been our economy for the past several years has left many in our nation overall depressed and disillusioned about what’s ahead. This has helped to spark more passion in our political parties—so much so that we had a change in power in the House of Representatives was quickly reversed this past fall after the Democrats had it only since the infamous fall of the GOP in mid-term elections 2006.

I noticed that President Obama’s tone of rhetoric changed shortly after the mid-cycle elections, perhaps he was grounded by the returns that election night or maybe he just understood that it was now his time to truly shine as a leader despite what the balance of powers was between the Executive and Legislative branch. For those watching closely, Mr. Obama did ram through a few costly and liberal-themed things immediately after becoming our current POTUS. This was a smart calculation as he was able to establish some items before there were any repercussions from either Democrats or Republicans.

Further, by weathering the political upheaval this past fall with a tactful concession, he is able to cover over any long-standing effects that will be due to his decisions since he was sworn in. In part, by applauding and accepting that American wanted to be heard, he has encouraged us to look forward to trying to change our current predicament of a slump economy in need of jobs and debt removal.

His State of the Union address this week speaks directly to all of us Americans who are choosing to ignore the Wall Street hyper-talk and economic rumblings of demise. He is able to capitalize on the recent Tucson, Arizona shootings tragedy in a positive manner by rallying the nation to embrace what we ought to strive for as one of the major world powers.

I offer these lines from President Ronald Reagan’s first State of the Union address to the nation on January 26, 1982 : “A year ago, Americans’ faith in their governmental process was steadily declining. Six out of 10 Americans were saying they were pessimistic about their future. A new kind of defeatism was heard. Some said our domestic problems were uncontrollable, that we had to learn to live with this seemingly endless cycle of high inflation and high unemployment.
There were also pessimistic predictions about the relationship between our administration and this Congress. It was said we could never work together. Well, those predictions were wrong. The record is clear, and I believe that history will remember this as an era of American renewal, remember this administration as an administration of change, and remember this Congress as a Congress of destiny.”Read more: State of the Union Address: Ronald Reagan (January 26, 1982) — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/t/hist/state-of-the-union/195.html#ixzz1CIwQgnAS

Couple those words with our current Commander-in-Chief: “What comes of this moment is up to us. What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow. I believe we can. I believe we must. That’s what the people who sent us here expect of us. With their votes, they’ve determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties. New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all – for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.”

Amazing isn’t it? Not much has changed but that is to our advantage because it means we always can choose whether to tackle our future or not. President Barack Obama is a great example of a man who although has faults and maybe even some fraudulence to his character, he embraces what has worked throughout the centuries—a positive message repeated in simple terms will often mobilize the masses to accomplish great things.

God Bless America.

RVSB

Wyoming Life

"God bless it and keep it wild"