Archives for posts with tag: Voting

This one is for my Mommy. That wasn’t what I was thinking this morning when I dragged myself up after a short sleep following a long day. I was thinking I needed to go vote early, but it was chilly and I had a raspy throat and there are all kinds of excuses. Then I thought again and KNEW I needed to go vote early.

I dressed in all white for the Suffragettes, which was kind of a random last minute decision. It’s not the kind of thing I usually do, but it seemed so right today. Then I realized it was also for my Mommy, who mostly dressed in white. photo.JPG

And for her paternal grandmother, who also dressed in white.Scan 2While driving to the election board for early voting, I suddenly found myself crying, once again something I’m not prone to doing while I’m on my way to vote. All these conversations I had with my mother came flooding back to me. Anyone who knew my mother knew how strong she was. I often wondered how in the world I was related to someone who was so much stronger than I ever felt.

I’ve written before about my mother’s childhood as the youngest of three children with a young widowed mother in the Depression. She didn’t really talk to me much about it until we were both older when our conversations deepened in the years before she died. As I working with non-profits or faced some of life’s greatest challenges, she would listen and then impart such wisdom based on her own experiences. She was a Republican who thought her husband did no wrong, but she was also a woman who could relate to so many things in the world. She surprised me time after time with her views on abortion, sexual harassment in the workplace, domestic violence, sexual preference, working women, racial inequity and a number of topics. Yes, we really discussed all of these issues over her final years. I don’t think she really changed, but I hadn’t really known what she thought. She was beginning to voice her own views based on her knowledge of what the world is really like. She was living a life of privilege after an early life of struggle and poverty and hard work. She didn’t forget what it was like – ever. In our personal conversations, she was very open minded and fair. I knew exactly what she would say to me this year. Exactly.

I’ve researched my ancestors and found a complete variety of experiences in my all white background. Some were poor, some were comfortable, some were wealthy. I think of my great-grandmother pictured above in her white dress who I find little about other than she was working as a maid for a family when she was fourteen. She became a fairly sophisticated woman in a small town. She read, went to the opera, had people over for discussions. My other great-grandmother on that side lived on a farm and ended up in a state home because there was no money and she was probably suffering from dementia or just extreme fatigue after a hard life.IMG_6970So I drove to the polls with a sudden rush of knowing how all the women in my family would vote today, even the ones who were never allowed to vote. I had a vision of having a discussion with all my ancestors on both sides, male and female, about the candidates in this election. I’m not sure how the men would vote really because they are from a different time and different generations. But, the women would know exactly who and what is going on. I felt that so strongly after my fifteen minute drive, which was an interesting feeling. I certainly hadn’t been thinking about any of them when I started out this morning.

I arrived at the election board and there was a line. I remembered why I thought this was a neat way to vote from when I did it a few years ago. Instead of my neighborhood voting place in a church where everyone pretty much looks alike, the election board had a line of people from all over town. I spotted a couple I know ahead of me, a couple who is wealthy, with people on both sides of them who obviously aren’t. It was a clear picture of our city on election day and it was nice.IMG_0157.jpgYou can see the line wound up and around the dumpster, although not too long. Beside us were the election officials, who were drinking coffee and talking.IMG_0158.jpgA man with a cane approached the line and they stopped him to show him where he could go so he didn’t have to stand in the longer line. He was most appreciative and they were very polite. Inside, there were sheriffs to tell us how to proceed and they were friendly and helpful and nice. Everyone was smiling, everything moved quickly and, even with a long ballot to hand mark, the whole thing took about 20 minutes. As I left, more elderly people, on walkers, canes and in wheelchairs, were entering through the other door. That was nice to see. They were making the effort to be there.

In an election like this, you look at the people around you and wonder how they are voting. It was hard to tell, thank goodness. I didn’t even presume to make a solid guess on anyone. It was a nice experience really.

So, I’ve voted, wearing white to honor my mother who was so surprisingly present with me today along with all the other ancestors who jumped into my head. This one’s for you, Mommy. IMG_0161.jpg

I’d like to say the ever noble thing and tell everyone to exercise their right to vote, a right that is fundamental to what our nation is all about.  I’d like to say that, but I’m not sure this time.  What I really want is for you to vote for the people I’m voting for.  And some of you won’t.

Normally, I’m pretty good about the majority ruling, but lately I’m not so sure.  I know that the alternative is not so great either, but I’ve been voting for almost 48 years now and I’m not real happy with what is going on in our country.  That’s an understatement.  By the time we actually have an election, we have been listening to candidates speak, throwing away an incredible amount of campaign material left in our mailboxes (hopefully recycling them), been annoyed by the phone calls that come at all hours, and been subjected to the horrendous 24 hour news cycle where so-called journalists have dropped any pretense of objective reporting for voicing their, or their network’s, opinion in the ever present sarcastic news tone used by all these days.  You know what I mean.

I’ve been a good voter through the years, showing up for the most minor of elections, studying the candidates and issues, coming prepared. I don’t know anymore.  I watch the people in office at every level playing the political games, surrendering their pre-office idealism for wheeling and dealing in votes.  They all begin to look jaded.

This qualifies as a rant.  I’m going to vote my conscience because I can’t trust any of the party platforms.  I’ll do the best I can and hope that some of my candidates win and that they do what they promised.  This is a year when I can truthfully say that I’m doing a lot of voting against incumbents, hoping they’ll be voted out before they do more damage.  I’m a negative voter this time around.

We have a great country, made greater by its people.  I’m a forever optimist who hopes we’ll get leaders who inspire us with their dedication to these wonderful people they are supposed to represent.  I’ll always vote because I know how important it is, no matter whether I like the outcome or not.  I vote…

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