Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Confessions of a Voter
What a momentous day. President Obama! I sat for at least 6 hours yesterday watching the presidential election. I even got the kids into it. We were figuring out how many electoral votes each candidate had and how many each could get with the states that had not yet closed voting. It became a game early on to do the math. It was a great lesson in civics and geography and math and human nature. We taped the McCain and Obama's speeches and let the kids watch them. They noticed a lot.
So let me get to my confession. I'm really embarrased to say that before this year I have never voted. No-not just I was out of town and missed a vote. I am 40 years old and have never voted until yesterday. Honestly, I never felt the need to vote before this year. Nothing ever struck me as that important and I never felt like my vote would count anyway.
So why this year? What changed my mind that I would do whatever I had to get my vote counted? This was tough for me. I didn't always agree with Obama's platform nor with McCain's. But they both have attributes that would have made this country stronger.
I had to weigh many options and give my hopes and prayers to the universe. Ultimately, my decision rested on a few things. First, I see so many people struggling. These are people with good incomes who now are living penny to penny and cutting corners in every possible way to make ends meet. This year....those people became my family.
We struggle to pay our heating bill and pay for basic necessities for our kids. We are cutting every inch of our budget and it isn't helping. That is very scary to me. We have not turned on our furnace yet and instead, are using our fireplace for warmth. We have cut our charitable contributions in a time when there are those so much more needy than our family. We have friends that have lost jobs and homes and have seen others go back to work at the age of 73. I've seen the mess that we are leaving our children and wonder how we will pay for college for them. I've watched our debt grow each month as we rely on credit cards because there is no more savings left.
I have watched the garbage fly during this election and watched the hate grow out of people's unfounded fears. I've listened to the rhetoric and watched America separate on views at a time when we should be coming together.
In the last weeks of the election, McCain narrowed his target audience. Obama reached out and was welcoming to all people. He didn't see skin color or race or whether you were gay or straight, Catholic or Atheist or Republican or Democrat. He saw the people of America as one and welcomed each and every one. He saw all of these people working together to pull this country out of the mess that we are in.
It is a historic day for America. The first Black American President overwhelmingly elected. I watched Rev.Jesse Jackson, Oprah and countless others cry in the audience last night and can only imagine how amazing they must feel. I have renewed faith in this country. We will struggle for quite a while longer but there is hope. There is always hope.
So my words of wisdom for the day are spreading the word to be politically active. Don't vote for a candidate based on fears, be kind and welcoming and get out and vote. It really does count!
YES WE CAN!