My youngest sister G called me recently. She sounded excitable and at the same time disheartened. Here’s a part of the conversation I had with her that day:
G – You know my friend Penny Ante?
Me – Yes, I think I remember her. (Actually I remember her quite well.)
G – (Talking nonstop.) She called me this morning and do you know what she asked me?! She wanted to know if I would put a Romney sign in my front yard. I told her no I wouldn’t put her sign in my yard because I’m voting for Obama. Then Penny screeched, “You mean you’re FOR abortion!?”
At this point my sister, talking to me, lamented, “I don’t know anyone who’s for abortion. Do you?” I agreed with her, “No, I don’t.”
(I have just returned from a brisk two-mile walk through the neighborhood. I often take this sort of break when I feel myself stepping on a slippery slope. It helps me to arrange my thoughts into a meaningful perspective.)
It seems to me that voting is a multifaceted proposition. When we take one issue and make it our reason for voting, we cheat ourselves, and in a sense, the American system. It’s also, in my opinion, the lazy path to voting.
Voting is a privilege and a responsibility. The responsibility part is sometimes difficult. It requires us to be informed voters. It means we listen to several angles on the same topics. It means reading letters to the editor in the local newspaper. It means listening to a friend who disagrees with you. It means researching a candidate’s record on the matters that are important to you. The fact that you and a candidate agree on one issue does not necessarily make him/her a good candidate.
Make a list (well, at least a mental one) of the issues that matter most to you. Then, set about finding out how the candidates view those items on your list. You can’t get the true picture by watching the same news channel all the time. We all have biases and often they show. It’s hard work to wade through all the garbage that accompanies our political races these days. But it’s worth the effort. And it’s our job!
Go on now, examine those candidates carefully. Then vote! Please.
I hereby retire my soapbox. Well, for now.