Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Get off your butt and vote!

Disclaimer: Although I'm part of what a newspaper-reporter acquaintance of mine would call the "*indistinct muttering* religious right," I just want to encourage EVERY U.S. citizen to JUST VOTE! No matter who or what party you vote for, if you're registered to vote, JUST VOTE!

If you're anything like how I was a few years ago, you're barely even aware that there's an election at all. In 2000, I was in my early 20s and VERY full of myself and absorbed in my own little world. 8 years later, President Bush is about to finish his second term. I finally got my act together by 2004 and voted for Bush myself, but in retrospect, it would have been nice to have been a part of the 2000 election, as crazy as it was, to at least tell my grandchildren about it, right? :) Anyway, that is my personal history. In 2002 when there was a gubernatorial race, I wouldn't have known where or when to vote if all the political ads hadn't been airing nonstop on network TV. (I didn't have cable then, and Tony Sanchez was running for Texas governor against Rick Perry, and I got SO SICK of Sanchez' nonstop commercials that I voted for Perry out of spite!) I even remember there being some kind of special election in the middle of the year and getting mad hearing about it on the news after the fact because I didn't even know there was an election. What the heck? How come the election officials don't just send out a mass email to everyone and remind everybody when to vote and where the polling locations are??

Of course, as the years go by and technology keeps blossoming, it's harder to live under a rock, so you probably already know there's an election. :) As for me, I'm a citizen of this country, I'm registered to vote, I already decided months ago who to vote for, and I've got gas in my car. There's no reason why I shouldn't exercise my right to vote.

I think as you get older, you learn more to appreciate this right. When I worked at a local candidate's campaign in 2004, we didn't have 18-year-olds calling us asking us for a ride to the polls; we had elderly voters calling us. My family tried to raise me to appreciate basic American freedoms such as voting, and it's finally starting to sink in for me. (My mother immigrated to the U.S., legally, when she was 3 years old, but that's another story. :))

Recently, I've had conversations with people who have really strange reasons for not voting. One guy I talked to said he was a Democrat and belonged to a labor union, but he won't vote because he said all elections are rigged, so he just doesn't bother. Huh?? I couldn't respect his political opinion, because he wouldn't back it up at the polls. (And, not to mention, the rest of his ideas were just really irrational and out of whack.) And, quite frankly, a blanket accusation saying that all elections are rigged is an insult to campaign volunteers who work tirelessly and sacrificially, often as a labor of love, if their candidate ends up losing.

On the other end of the spectrum, a friend from church told me she won't vote because she doesn't want to elect the antichrist, and that her mama told her she didn't have to vote because she was a citizen of heaven. Huh?? I know she's talking about a verse in the Bible, Philippians 3:20, that says that Christians have their "citizenship...in heaven." But in its context, it basically says that we Christians should behave ourselves in a way that's consistent with our eternal destination. I should have explained to my friend that she doesn't have to pay taxes to heaven, and that heaven didn't issue her driver's license. (Plus, we women haven't always had the right to vote in this country! It's something we shouldn't take for granted!)

Whatever your reasons for voting, JUST VOTE! Educate yourself as much as you need to on the issues, or do whatever you need to do to make a decision, as long as you JUST VOTE! (You still have a little bit of time if you're still undecided, anyway. :) (JUST VOTE!)) Where I live, early voting starts tomorrow and continues through Halloween. The main day for voting nationwide is November 4. If you live in Dallas County, you can get more information at http://www.dalcoelections.org/

I like to avoid crowds, so I'm gonna do my darnedest to get off my butt and JUST VOTE! early, sometime this week. :)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a Brit I just wanted to say I agree. Actually we have heard so much about your election I almost wish I could vote too. Trouble is I still can't tell the parties apart. PS you don't have to try and educate me, my husband tries and I just forget again.

Elly said...

sorry that was me.I didn't mean to be anonymous.

Tirzah said...

Cool, thanks. :) Our country was founded on freedoms that SO MANY of us take for granted, especially the right to vote. And the media distorts so many facts because they report the news with their biased viewpoints instead of objectivity that is supposed to be the backbone of journalism. (I used to work at a newspaper. To hear my former coworkers talk, you would have thought that a cigar-toting guy named Kinky Friedman was sure to win the race for Texas governor, because the reporters and editors liked him so much. (But Rick Perry was reelected instead. :))

Yeah, political parties in the U.S. can get confusing because they've shifted with history. (Republicans and Democrats used to stand for completely different things, say in the 1800s.) Plus, many candidates nowadays try to shift somewhere toward the middle because supposedly many voters are moderate in their views... but, unfortunately, I think voters are just apathetic and need to get their butts to the polls! :)

Tirzah said...

I early-voted today! :D I was delighted to see a long line, especially on a Saturday, because it means that people are getting out there and exercising their right! It was kind of exhausting waiting in line for an hour, but definitely worth it. :)

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