Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Well, it's finally here. I kind of can't believe it. There is so much riding on this election that I haven't let myself spend too much time thinking about either outcome. I haven't let myself believe that John McCain could genuinely win and do nothing but continue the Bush agenda with a vice president that is nothing more than a punchline, and I haven't let myself believe that Barack Obama could truly win and reverse the horrendous turn that politics in America have taken.
I will say this though - had it not gotten so bad with eight years of Bush and the way he has destroyed so many parts of America, we wouldn't be so mobilized for change. Humans are inherently lazy in certain aspects, myself included, and we don't want to "be the change we want to see in the world," we'd rather leave it to other people, be they activists, politicians, etc. And now that is changing a little. We've seen what not doing anything will get us because we were given an administration that railroaded civil liberties and moral behavior in a way that we never could have guessed.
So even if you haven't donated money, or made phone calls, or knocked on doors, as so many of our friends and acquaintances have, today is your one chance to do anything. And normally I would just assume that it's nearly impossible to find someone who isn't voting this election, but I have close friends who are not voting. They are not voting because they think their vote will be stolen anyway and so what's the point.
But here's the point - if you don't vote then you can't complain. You can't complain about what happens in the next four years because you haven't done anything to make it different. You've sat back like a child hoping that someone else will fix things while you don't have to do anything yourself. It's an incredibly dangerous way to go through life.
Additionally, you have forgotten your history. I would hope that women and people of color will feel more of a responsibility to vote today. What we now take for granted was once a cause that legions of people fought, sacrificed, and even died for. If we forget that and refuse to exercise our most basic rights, history, as they say, will certainly be doomed to repeat itself.
Lastly, I would like to say that every day for the last week I have seen lines of voters in Florida and Georgia that are hundreds of people long and are wrapping around the block. The people in these lines are standing for three, four, even five hours to cast their vote. Somehow, against all odds, they've gotten time off of work, overcome health ailments, gotten babysitters, and waited in the hot Florida sun for half a day just to cast their one vote. Every night when I see those pictures I feel blown away by the dedication and tenacity of those people. Regardless of who they're voting for, those people are absolute heroes.