Don’t worry I’m not going to tell you who to vote for. Plenty of people have already weighed in on that.
I hope you do go and vote though. It probably sounds sappy but when I’m standing in that voting booth I can’t help but think of the men and women who have sacrificed so much so that I can have my say, on everything from school board and county commissioner to congress and president. And then I remember that so many people around the world don’t have that same opportunity. It’s a pretty amazing thing when you stop and think about it.
This democracy of ours isn’t perfect. It’s loud and messy and sometimes obnoxious. It’s not entirely a level playing field considering all the money that seems to be involved. And then there are the commercials that can bring even small children to tears. Even so, even with all it’s imperfections, it’s still, by far, the best thing around. And we’re awfully lucky to have it.
I don’t know who will come out on top tomorrow. That I can not predict. But what I do know will happen, with 99.9% certainty, is that no matter who wins, half the country will be rejoicing and the other half will be in utter despair certain the country is going to go to hell in a hand basket. And whoever the winner is he will make some good decisions and some bad decision. And political promises will not be kept. Political promises are destined to fail the moment they are spoken, after all, because no one can predict the future. Something unforeseen could happen tomorrow or next week or next year that could leave even the best, most honorable political promise impracticable or impossible. And then in four years we’ll do it all again.
Today as we head out to pick who will live in the White House for then next four years I wonder, as obviously important as that person is, perhaps its just as important and maybe more so, who lives in all the other houses in this country.
How we live out our lives when we walk out of the voting booth is what truly makes this country great. How we treat our family, friends, neighbors, strangers.
Whether we choose to make the effort to improve our corner of the country in small way. What we do in our neighborhoods and communities.
How we discuss our differences, whether we choose to disagree in a respectful way or not. If we take the time, make the effort, to become truly informed about the issues or whether we rely on email forwards and over paid talk show hosts, whose main interests are ratings, for our information.
I wonder sometimes if we’ve gotten a little bit lazy in the area of citizenship. It’s so tempting to pick our team, cast our vote and then kick back in our arm chairs and start Monday morning quarterbacking and finger pointing at the other team.
The truth is we’re all on the same team and everybody’s in the game, whether they recognize it or not. We’re all contributing something to the conversation, every day, positive or negative, but no one is ever really sitting on the bench.
The tone in Washington can be pretty ugly but sometimes I wonder how much of it is a reflection of the tone in our communities and homes. We may not be able to change the tone in Washington or the White House but we can change the way we discuss things in our homes and communities. Some very important people will notice. Whether or not you’re a parent chances are there are children around and they will notice how we handle ourselves. They will notice if we seek out facts or pay attention to gossip, if we are respectful in our differences and if we keep trying to work out problems or just turn and stomp away. And they will be the ones who will be able to change the conversation. But they need us to set an example.
Our power and influence doesn’t end in the voting booth. We take it with us everyday, everywhere we go and in everything we do. How we use it is up to us.
I’m stepping down now and putting the soapbox away.
May God Bless the United States of America.
Happy Election Day!