Monday, November 3, 2008
Are you tired of hearing about the election? Sick of thinking about whom to vote for? Are you ready for the coverage of our national election to end?
Lucky you. In 48 hours, the "endless" campaign will be over.
Before then, allow me a moment to enter my little voice into the fray of opinions on the political process.
I'll say upfront that I am no pundit or politico, and my feet are firmly planted outside of any political party. True to my against-the-grain self, I am an independent. My vote has swung back and forth a few times over this election, and I'm not out to convince anyone to vote for either party or candidate.
I would however, like to tell you about why I am giddy with gratitude and excitement at electiontime. I may not wear my politics on my sleeve, but I do wear my heart there, and will tell you unabashedly that I love this country. I love that I have the opportunity to vote, to run for office, to make my positions known without fear of legal reprisal.
I so appreciate my right to vote, and the ease with which I do so. I do not have to prove that I own property, or can read, or can write. I do not have to sign an oath, or prove my racial heritage, or pretend I am not a woman. I do not have to stand in line for days. I am guaranteed my ballot is secret, entirely up to me, and I can vote for whomever I choose without fear that that vote will endanger my family's safety. I have not been paid to vote for anyone in particular, and, in fact, I can abstain from voting for whatever reason I choose (including laziness). And if I believe that my right to vote has been endangered in some way, I have recourse.
For those who do pursue that recourse, they have a larger voice than ever. The debates about voting rights for DC residents, felons, late registrants, etc--these are loud and widely covered in the media, and I am hopeful that there will be progressive decisions made for all of these soon. It is good to know that we can spot the inequities more easily now. It is a good sign of progress towards liberty for all.
As Americans, I think we often take all this for granted. We take for granted so many of our other freedoms--the freedom to live in our towns peacefully, to ride buses without fear of them blowing up, to sit in outside cafes and discuss politics without fearing an official or a thug will drag us away because of our "wrong" beliefs.
At election time, I like to be grateful for the little freedoms that I usually forget about. Passing through our daily lives, we have the rarely-noticed freedom to be concerned about the little things--finding a parking spot far from the mall entrance, encountering a grumpy clerk at the grocery store, having to stand in line for the good machines at the gym, having the same lunch two days in a row, coffee that's too hot in our cups, and bad hair days meeting us in the mirror. May everyone's worst day be filled with such worries.
We truly live in liberty, with an embarrassment of riches regarding our choices, from our candidates to our life choices. I wish you a happy election week. Celebrate it, you lucky you.
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