Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I am Thankful (really)

Okay, my last post was a little harsh.  My husband pointed out to me that it really had little to do with being thankful.  So true.  So I will rectify that misdead now.

I am thankful to live in a society that supports involvement in the government; that voting for officials is basically fair, easy and has many checks and balances.

I am thankful that so many citizens participate in politics and voting, especially in Minnesota where voter turnout is higher than in many other states.

I am thankful that so many people volunteer to be put in a place of scrutiny and judgment as candidates for positions of power in our government.

I am thankful that there are precious few who really believe in the slogan, "Love it or Leave it" but feel more passionately for the belief in "Love it or Work to Make it Better."  Sort of like marriage, I don't love everything about living in my community, state or nation, but I do passionately love most of what life can be like here.  I will always work towards making that life to be better for my family and for all people living here.  (Thanks, Husband, for always working to make me a better person!)

I am thankful that I can have and voice my own opinions, especially as a woman, without fear of facing retribution, attack and abuse in efforts to silence dissent. I am in awe of those women who do speak out with full knowledge of what will surely come after, for the right to free speech has never been a right for so many outside of our borders.

I am thankful for all those who went before me to provide my right to vote.  I honor those women and men by staying involved (as much as I am able) with national and world events and politics, and by using that hard fought right to vote each and every time it is available to me.

I am thankful to my teachers; those found in school buildings and those found in the rest of my life, that have taught me that politics are important.  Not the "daily dish" stuff that is so often in the news.  But the struggles between groups of people to uphold their own values while working together to make a better society.

And I am thankful that those teachers also taught me that MY participation is important.  That what I think, value, support and vote for matters for my society to be strong.

So what my previous post really meant to do was share that with you.  What YOU value matters.  What YOU believe will make our society better is important.  How YOU vote will impact what happens in your community, state and nation.

So please, go vote.

(Thank you.)

You may find these links helpful in learning about who will be on YOUR ballot the first Tuesday of November:

National League of Women Voters Website - there are places to enter your location information to learn about who and what will be on your local ballots.

National Democratic Party Website - national information with links to your local party websites.

National Republican Party Website - national information with links to your local party websites.

National Independence Party Website - same stuff as found on previous two links, so if you are not in support of the two main political parties, this one may be for you!

National Constitution Party Website - if you are looking for a party that is still different, in a more conservative way, this may be the one for you.

National Green Party -a political party focused on common sense solutions that support a government "ruled by the people, not by Wall Street" which may speak to your convictions!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

November is coming soon...so vote or MOVE

I don't mean the title of this post to cause any sense of fear that the cold months of the year are just around the corner. Not my intention at all. But there is a building fervor over the impending election (please vote Tuesday, Nov. 2nd) and what the outcomes of said election might be. Because of my upbringing, and my subsequent awareness of all things political, I am getting a little tense with the thought that many people who share my citizenship will choose not to vote. Oops. I just threw up a little. I know, I wrote, "will choose not to vote."

I've met quite a few people, in a variety of generations, who, for whatever reasons they duly list out, don't vote. They "let it slide" and go with whatever happens. Now, I'll describe why that's simply insane.

I will explain up front that I am a card carrying Democrat. (Okay, no I don't really have a 'card' but I am on the list.) Personally, I wouldn't describe myself as liberal, since I have clear and concise opinions about loads of issues, but as society stands today, those opinions place me in the "Liberal" crowd. I would never knowingly seriously date or marry a Republican, and haven't, though my lovely and caring father-in-law is one. I also, possibly because of my clear and concise opinions, consider myself a Feminist. Whatever that means to you, good.

But I do honor and uphold the value of those with convictions that differ from my own. I mean, if I ruled the world, I'd be pretty bored if everyone agreed with me. (Yawn.) I love a good debate. I love to learn what someone else believes and how they would like things to change to uphold those beliefs. I just really dislike (almost hate) when people don't have an opinion. I mean, pick a team. Make a choice. Have a backbone. No matter how crazy the convictions, HAVE SOME. Change them if and when you feel the need, but get involved in the world outside your front door.

I'm a little amped up right now because I am re-reading Garrison Keillor's book, "Homegrown Democrat." With his graceful text, he sends forth a mighty war cry to rally the forces of democracy (especially those within the Democratic Party) toward a new mission. It was released in 2004, and we can all remember that it was not a positive "election cycle" for a few Democratic candidates on the ballots out there, but loads of people got involved. INVOLVED. And things changed because of it.

I also live in a school district that is dealing with a major budget shortfall in the coming school years, and many of us in Minnesota can also lay claim to that. There doesn't seem to be a better time than right now to become involved in choosing who is going to lead the citizenry and what sort of budget adjustments our already ailing cities and schools will need to make.

So I am writing all this down and sharing it with you to let you know that it is 1) cool 2) sexy 3) powerful 4) important 5) responsible 6) crucial and 7) exciting to vote. But mostly, because you owe it to everyone you share this nation with to take part. I mean, what else does our democracy stand for? Why have so many fought for YOUR right to vote if you don't even care about it?

I mean, what else can you do where you spend a short amount of your time, and zero money to change the course of our community/state/nation's history?

So for all those who say they don't want to vote because they don't know enough about the candidates - go to the League of Women Voters website. It is an impartial information location where you can find out WHERE you will vote, WHO will be on your ballot, and WHAT they are about. Ask questions, get answers, and GO VOTE! If you need a ride to the polls, check around. If you can't find anyone close by, ask me! My minivan has plenty of room.