Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day 2008

A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.
Theodore Roosevelt

Okay, I like that quote...it implies that we need to have some reason for casting a vote one way or the other. Where do we point that gun? And why? Do our sights include race? Or gender? Today people of many colors walked into voting booths all over the country and cast their vote based solely on the color of a man's skin. And some people pushed some buttons or blackened a circle based on a candidate's gender.

I've never been a fan of those who think everyone should go vote. It's like singing, cooking or hitting a fastball: some are better at it than others. And why? Because they care. They take the time.

A crooked and corrupt man can not only drag a horse to water, but if the horse is thirsty enough, he can piss in his mouth and tell him it's champagne.

It is our job as citizens to be ever vigilant, to question those who want us to trust them with the power and authority that an elected position gives them, and not to blindly accept their slogans for truth. Mark Twain said that the government's function is "to obey orders, not originate them."

So no matter who you vote for, hold them accountable. Our opinion of our elected officials are at an all-time low, so don't let up.

I am not a fan of putting political signs in my yard.

My wife put an Obama sign out this week. It was given to her by a friend we camped with at Magnolia Fest the other day, and my wife had promised to put it out. Why don't I like it? Because our current political culture has things broken down into soundbites. Hey, I have an Obama sign in my yard, so I've just allowed people to project their opinions about the presidential race onto me. Never mind that I may have some slightly nuanced beliefs that aren't captured in that blue piece of plastic stuck in the grass.

Oddly enough, I have no problem with the Bulldog banner outside.

I voted early, at the rec center a few blocks from w&rk. It's across the street from the rocky moonscape that was a crime-ridden housing project and a stone's throw from a shuttered high school. While I was in line, I saw an elderly woman helped to the front of the line and I saw a blind man with his wife gently holding his arm as his cane tapped along the sidewalk. I saw a man with one leg use his crutches to navigate himself out of the building after casting his ballot.

I don't know who they voted for, but I do know this. If the person who leads our country for the next four years has half the character of his supporters, then we have a very useful rifle.