Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ballots Instead of Bullets



Rodney may not have much of a choice, but we do.



Do you vote?
Yeah, I know it’s a mid-term election.  Nobody important running, a governor here and city councilman there and all those judges you know nothing about.  Who cares!

I voted and I’m glad to be done with this election cycle.  I will say your vote does matter.  I helped select the people who will have some influence over our society for the next couple of years, even if it is just the power of the bully pulpit.  And it’s often quite a bit more, too!

In my view, voting and jury duty are two unique privileges.  We had a sales tax increase on the ballot to assist in updating police and emergency communications.  We have the right to say no to that, if we as a group don’t think the police and fire need better communication.  Isn’t that just amazing!  

This blog and others pose the question, "One day will we have to fight in our own backyards, our streets and countryside to keep the freedoms we enjoy now?"   So vote, because thats a freedom we have now! 

By 4:30 I was voter number 200 something.  In my precinct, maybe 300-350 voters will show up by the close of the polls.  I know there are more adults in this area than that.  Where is everybody?  

Listening to NPR I hear reports about attempts to get early voting for the community.  What?  Why worry about early voting?  My poll was open all day and anyone who wanted to vote could.   Only 200 some votes by 4:30.  We get a bigger turn out for high school football.  It’s embarrassing.

Maybe the problem is we make it too easy.

Literature of future societies often portray the right to vote restricted to those individuals who made a major contribution to society.  In one you had to serve faithfully and honorably in the military to vote after discharge.  One society requires complete donation of your personal wealth to society and taking a public service job as the only route to citizenship and that precious vote.

Fiction you say.  Maybe, but it sounds attractive.  Start an effort to teach literacy anywhere to anyone, work for the police, volunteer at a hospital, deliver mail, pickup the trash on the side of a road every three months for a year and then maybe you should get to vote for that year.  You can think of other examples.

That discriminates against…you sputter.  I don’t think so.  You don’t have to have an education to clean up the roads.  You don’t have to be rich to teach children to read.  Turn off the TV for a hour or two each day and do something to engage with society.  Donate $100 thousand out of your millions to the hospital?  Great!  You can get an examination room named after you, but not the vote.  Hold a fundraiser at the corner bar to help the widow of a cabdriver killed in a robbery.  You got your vote.

We take the vote for granted.  We should think of it as a learned privilege.  Think how many politicians would run for office is they had to turn their personal wealth over to society just to be a citizen. 

Sounds better doesn’t it?

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