Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Will You Write Us All This Book?

I don't get political on this blog, not because I don't care, but because I have such strongly held views that it's hard for me to be mature about them. But for this week's Thursday News of the Absurd Will Someone Please Write This Book Inspirational Moment (TNoftheAWSPWTBIM), I have a request.

This coming Tuesday, go vote. Go vote before then, if you can. I don't care for whom, I just want you to do it. There will be long lines, maybe hours long, and bad weather and you don't have child care. I know you don't live in a swing state and you think your vote for President won't count. I know the government's corrupt and last election it seemed like entire boxes of votes went floating away on the Atlantic. I know you have deadlines and gas costs and a head cold and...

Vote anyway.

Wait, I'm not done. I don't just want you to vote. I want you to think about it. Most of us are pretty sure about our presidential choice. Think about it anyway. Make sure you are voting with your own mind and not the minds of your news anchor or your pastor or your friend who's a lawyer and seems to know a lot about these things. If you need help, try here or here or here or even here. Read about the issues that are important to you, and then choose based on knowledge and on what you really want, not on fear or on rumor.

And when you're done deciding who you want to be president, or if you just can't decide, well, who do you want to be your County Clerk? Honestly, our local elections probably far more directly impact our daily lives, and yet we know so much less about them. So find out. And choose wisely again.

Wait, there's more. Help someone else vote. Make sure your elderly neighbor has a ride. Offer to trade child care with a friend. Bring coffee and umbrellas to your polling station. Pass this post along, if you think it will convince someone.

And if the lines are long and the machines are confusing and you're not sure whether voting straight party ticket will nullify your vote for president* or whether you need a government issued photo ID** then do something. Talk to your local election board. Offer to hold someone's place in line. Educate the people around you. And vote anyway.

Imagine that on Tuesday, we live in a country where almost all of us think carefully and hard about who we want making the decisions that will reverberate from our living rooms to the ozone layer. Imagine that for just a second, we forget about all the reasons we can't make a difference and everybody votes, like you dreamed it happened when you first learned about it, with everyone's heads down on the desks raising a hand in second grade and the teacher counting the votes and declaring the winner.

Will you please help me write this book?

* This has apparently been an issue in some states. To make sure all your votes count, don't vote "straight party ticket" or whatever it says; select each choice individually.
** You don't (in Michigan -- check your state's .gov site for more info). You will, if you don't have one, need to sign an affidavit stating that you are you.


Nora MacFarlane said...

Have you ever been more ready for a presidential race to be over? Let's hope it's actually final this Tuesday. Thanks for the post!

Sharon Blankenship said...

Bravo! A nice, comprehensive view of the election and candidates. Also, thanks for urging people to vote for local issues.
Even if either side wins in a landslide, you can be stuck with that incompetent building inspector who let's all kinds of infractions slip by. LOCAL issues matter.
Also, thanks for reminding people to study and help each other.
The scariest thing I heard on Public Radio was an interview with two voters, one who was going to vote for "That couple from Alaska," but didn't know the names. And the other who wouldn't vote for the "Colored." My Lord. Hope these people keep at home. Or educate themselves.
Love your blog. It's the one thing I read every day.

J. Thorp said...

Amen, Jacqui. Especially about paying attention to local elections, too -- these should be the farm system for Congress, in my humble opinion ... is a great source, although it's a bit like walking into the Stacks of a massive college library -- more info than you can possible fathom. But that's alright. Browse a bit. They post all points of view. Diverse points of view make you think (and yell at your computer, sometimes).

Oh, and amen, Nora.

Elise Murphy said...

Well said! We're vote by mail here in WA state, but PLEASE, vote early so that if there are any discrepancies in your ballot / signature / etc. there is time to contact you and get it fixed!

Angela said...

Great post. I think everyone down there in the states is ready for this to be over. I hope that a lot of people get out there and vote and don't just sit at home whining that their vote won't make a difference anyway.

Rena said...

I am so ready for this to be over too. But frankly, I've been more into this election than any in the past. This post hits the nail right on the head. I listened to an interview on the radio today with a person who was being asked why he was voting for who he was and sadly, he didn't really know WHY. It's so important to get out there and learn so you can make a smart choice.

Jacqui said...

Nora, I am ready for it to be over, but, like you Rena, I've been very into it, almost obsessively so. I think the breadth of the population involved in the conversation is fascinating.

Sharon -- thank you! I think I heard that same interview; wasn't there also someone who said she was voting for Obama but didn't know who his VP was?

Thorp, thanks so much for the link; I will check it out. Mmm. Stacks in a library.

Amen, Elise. Did you hear about the screwy machines in WVa?!

Angela, I'd be interested to hear the news coverage/people's opinions from your spot. Does it seem like as big a circus as it seems here?

Amber Lough said...

The only thing that would hold me back is hard labor. Seriously.

Or maybe hard labor the day before.

Which makes me wonder...what do people in the hospital do on voting days? Do they just get glossed over? What about people who've been in the hospital for a week or so and missed the cut-off for mailing it in? I think they should have a voter-helper going around to all the rooms, so people don't miss out. Especially us ready-to-pop preggos.

I mean, I don't want to hold missing the elections over my son's head for eons, you know? But I probably would anyway. ;-)

Jacqui said...

Amber, good point. Can you vote early? I wonder what people do?!

Bish Denham said...

Excellent post! Two years of campaigning is just too long, particularly when it seems to be all about who can raise the most money.

Mary Witzl said...

Amen to thıs, Jacqui. I'll help you write that book...

sruble said...

Great post! I've done a lot of thinking on the presidential election, so I know who I'm going to vote for their, but finding info on the local elections is not easy this year. I'm going to have to dig to get that.