We’re not there, yet, but now’s as good a time as any to get down, in writing, a couple of thoughts that have been rolling around in my head, on the right to vote.
It’s a basic thing, it seems–very simple, and a fundamental part of our government. Lots of folks take it for granted. More than a few have never exercised it. And there’s a large number–a very large number, indeed–who would like nothing more than to tell you exactly how you should use it, or else keep you from doing so.
No matter what anyone tells you, you cannot “throw your vote away,” except by not voting. (I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: if legally you can vote, go out there and do it.)
I consider it immoral to bully someone else into voting for (or against) one candidate or another. Do I have my preferred candidate? Yes. Will I give you my rationale, if asked? Yes. Will I try to persuade you, one way or the other? If I think you’re persuadable, yes. Will I try to force you to vote the way I want you to? No. (Will I disown a relative who does such a thing? Yes; we have done so to my mother-in-law, who was frankly bullying my nephew–a first-time voter–into voting a particular way during the primaries.)
You don’t like either candidate? Not surprising; rarely are either one (or, gods above, both) paragons of moral purity. I won’t even try to sell you the platitude that you don’t necessarily have to vote for either of them, you can vote against one or the other. No, what you–what we all–really need to do is look at the candidates that are running. Take off the rose-colored glasses, and give them a good, hard look. Ask yourself: Which of these candidates do I think, given their record, will most likely do what is best for the country? Then vote for that candidate.
It’s important, that last bit of the decision process. For the country. Not for yourself. Not for your family, or your city, or county, or even your state. That’s not the President’s job. The person who gets elected has to look out for the country as a whole. Unfortunately, that means they’re probably going to tick off one or another chunk of the electorate. I consider that a price worth paying, if it’s for the general good. (Consider: The Normandy invasions in WWII were certainly not beneficial to any of the souls who died on the beaches, and a number of their families were probably [rightfully] angry. But overall, that sacrifice benefitted the majority, if not the entirety of the rest of humanity.)
I could probably rant on like this for hours. I’ll spare you–while leaving open the possibility that I’ll go off again before the election. (I make no guarantees what I talk about afterwards… That’s in part up to the electorate as a whole.)
On a happier note, how are your fall preps going? It’s not here yet, but it’s right around the corner…