Tuesday, November 4, 2008

On Voting Booths

Voting booths remind me of the sanctity of the confessional booth for several reasons. The first is physical, in that there is a small closet like area, with a curtain, in which a person can slip into; there is room for just one person. The curtain obscures the person and the ballot from the prying eyes of the public. It is not always quiet, but it is quiet enough to do what a person's conscience guides him/her to do.

What goes on in the voting booth is between the voter and the ballot, which is collected and collated anonymously. When the voter leaves that booth, and the voting precinct, it is a personal choice whether to reveal or to not reveal to another living soul what business took place in that booth. I like that the sanctity of voting in our democracy is protected, as the sanctity of the confessional booth is protected in our society.

I like that I have the chance to vote someone into office, or to vote a deadbeat incumbent out of office, whether locally, statewide and nationally, or all three. And the best part is that I can do that in the voting booth, without fear of reprisal from friend or government.

And as much as I appreciate my privilege to vote in this country, I abhor the political process, the down and dirty, just plain lying that is done, the slant in the news, the manure slinging, name calling, put down the opponent to win, and never discuss the issues, and good manners are for the other guy to watch, not me, attitude the news media, the political parties and pundits exhibit. I also resent the self appointed prophets who try to call the results of the election before the election has actually taken place. If I had the power, I'd call a moratorium on all that, but then I think somebody named Hitler did that, and that's a whole other story in the history of mankind.

That's why, despite the downside of the process, the upside is exactly my point. When I finally get inside that voting booth today, and I close the durtain behind me, I can cast my vote for the candidate of my choice without anybody breathing down my neck. I need never tell another soul how I voted, but I am old enough to be fully cognizant of one thing. My vote counts and there are consequences one way or another that we shall all have to live with.

And there will be a percentage of the population who will be happy with the outcome, and a group of people who will think the world is coming to an end if their party does not get voted into office.

And we shall all need to pull together the day after to become a nation of people who cannot become divisible by forces outside the US of A. We shall all need to reach across the aisle and work on uniting this country again, and to work toward resolving the problems that will not go away. It just may be that outside forces will not destroy this country, but our own tendency to see portions of our population as them against us, the haves and the have-nots, the rich against the poor and middle-class, the educated against the blue collar worker, the immigrant against the natural born citizen, or the Democats versus the Republicans. We are all Americans, we just disagree. Diversity is not a dirty word, and it is not a threat to patriotism. It is a sign that, in fact, democracy at it's best is at full play in this country, and that all peoples have a voice, no matter how much I disagree or agree with the message.

And my fondest dream is that those running for office will do so to be public servants, instead of dipping into the pork barrel for their own personal gain. I can dream.

1 comment:

Blackmans said...

Very well written! I voted early, but agree with you!