Monday, November 07, 2016

Tomorrow Is Election Day

Tomorrow is election day. The campaign has been too long and expensive, but that can be said of every election in which I've taken part. Everyone I know, whatever their political persuasion, agrees that it would be better if we could make make the political season (especially for President) shorter and cheaper. Spending the better part of two years picking our candidates and then our highest executive is simply wasteful, both financially and emotionally. There are Constitutionally legal ways to make that happen, but so far we the people haven't pulled ourselves together enough to do it.

I'm not one of those who shy away from engaging in political discourse. I see it as my responsibility as a citizen to not just vote, but to research, inform and attempt to persuade those who will listen. That's the way democracy is supposed to work, after all: self-governance is not something we can leave up to others. When we step away, we leave a vacuum that is filled by actors who will not act in our best interests. If we are to ever lose our nation, it won't be to an invading force, but rather to the slow-motion decay of our own apathy or, perhaps, disgust. Some say we've already lost it. To them I say, we won't get it back unless we take it back.

It can get uncomfortable, even nasty, I know, and I have sometimes contributed to that when I lose patience with friends and family, colleagues and neighbors. No one ever said that democracy would be fast or easy. It's messy and fraught with real dangers. If you've been following the blog, you'll know that I am a supporter of Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and actually learned something important about myself and my country in the process of that support. I was disappointed when he lost, of course, but inspired by his continued engagement in the project of self-governance.

But nevertheless, this morning I can't tell you how excited I am for Tuesday evening, and I don't mean that I'll be happy for the election to be over. I'm looking forward to electing our first woman President, flaws and all. I'm excited for the children I teach, all of whom (and they've been polled) are "voting for the girl." Some of the girls in particular almost quaking with excitement when they talk of her. These kids are growing up with the first black President and now, if the polls and pundits can be believed, a woman. When I was their age it was literally impossible for a woman to be elected to the office, just as it was impossible for a black man to occupy the seat. We sometimes get so lost in the irritating day-to-day give and take that we forget to put our heads up to look at the longer arc of our history. Don't try to tell me that we are not making progress: tomorrow we will make the impossible happen and elect our first woman to the highest office in the land.

I'm not here to re-argue the merits of Hillary Clinton as a candidate, representative or person. I'm simply letting you know that for me tomorrow will be a time to celebrate something great that we the people have done. Then on Wednesday, we go back to the business of self-governance, which may or may not place me at odds with our new President.

And now, if the readers of this blog are representative of the voters in our country, close to half of you are mad at me right now, while the other half have already donned your party pant suits. It may seem off topic, but I'm going to end this post with a video from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. I fail at every moment of every day to be like Mister Rogers, but he still inspires me to be a better citizen and person. The second half of the video is the speech he gave as he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. He's talking about the responsibilities of those who work in television, but if you mentally replace the word "television" with "America" or "citizenship," I think you'll see that it is an important message for us all.

I put a lot of time and effort into this blog. If you'd like to support me please consider a small contribution to the cause. Thank you!
Bookmark and Share

No comments: