05 November 2012
And I Shall Vote For...
One of the things I remember with great clarity is our privilege and obligation to vote every year. My parents, grandparents and aunts would vote, and be sure that I knew it. They probably didn't even recognize the effects on me. But I have a very specific memory of a discussion with my grandfather.
Let me preface with this: I think my grandfather is one of maybe 3 of the greatest men I have ever had the blessing of knowing. Grampa, as I call him, is the kindest man I know. I do not ever recall him being angry or mean. The strongest thing he would say to someone would be the occasional, "Jackass!" to a crazy driver (oh- and to those kids who kept stealing Rudolph the Reindeer's red nose one Christmas). Other than that, I never heard the man speak ill of anyone. Not a soul. To this day, despite suffering from dementia, my grampa continues to be docile.
One year my grandparents were over my house. I remember very distinctly sitting on the couch with my grampa and asking him who he voted for. Without missing a beat, he said, "Donald Duck." Even as a kid, I knew this didn't make sense. "No grampa, for real. Who did you vote for?" Again he responded with a swift, "Mickey Mouse!"
No matter how I tried, he would not tell me who he voted for. He was funny and kind. But he was also sure to explain to me that who we vote for is a very private matter. From the way he explained it, I understood voting to be a highly personal, worthy of great respect. In my child's mind, it made perfect sense. I grew into an adult who shaped my beliefs based on this teaching. Interestingly, to this day, I still have no idea if he was a Democrat or a Republican.
Fast forward to 2012. The word "acrimonious" comes to mind when I think of the political landscape. I'm a news nerd. I LOVE to read global news. I've been following the US political landscape very closely. I definitely have opinions. I like to speak to people who both agree and disagree with my own views. But when I read the news, and then read comments left by ordinary people, I am aghast. People call each other names, they lash out, they insult strangers, they spew hatred and anger. I read it every day. I have read news feeds where people, literally, threaten physical violence should their candidate(s) not win.
Many feel very strongly about the 2012 US Election on Nov 6th. I know I do. But for the love of all that is sane- please be polite, and encourage others to also be polite. It sounds like such a basic request. Leave the pride aside if you're on the "winning" team. Shelf the animosity of you're on the "losing" team. Because really- the only winners & losers are We The People. Regardless of the final tallies we are still One Nation Under God. Whether we like it or not, we will be in this together.
On that note, I declare: I am officially voting for Han Solo. Yep. He's got my vote. If he doesn't win, I promise not to riot or hold grudges against the Hutt Clan.