I actually voted a couple of weeks ago. I sat down with my husband and we dutifully marked our early voting ballots and made our voices heard. Today, I drove some seniors to their precinct to help make sure that their voices were heard as well. And on the drive, I talked with them about what a historic day it was. Almost to a one, these seniors talked about their impressions of the campaign season and how important it was to them to vote today, more so than any other time in their lives. It was almost a cathartic experience for us all. I realized how much weight and stress I've been carrying for the last eight years and what a relief I felt--almost a tangible sense of weight being lifted--to be able to come out and say I want this country to change.
The world is watching us and waiting just as anxiously. I communicate with a fantastic group of women writers from all over the world and our conversations of late have been all about the elections. One Canadian writer (still mourning the results of their own most recent elections) wrote this, and I think it sums up exactly why I support a progessive agenda:
When I vote, I vote for all the children in my country who need to go to school and who need to go to a hospital.
I vote for children who don't get to decide who their parents are -- they don't get to decide if they are born to a nice, caring family, they don't get to decide if they are born with Autism or Down's Syndrome or a learning or physical disability, they don't get to decide if their parents live near a factory with smoke stacks or if their parents are alcoholics or abuse drugs. There is no reason for a child not to have the same basic health and educational opportunities, regardless of who their parents are because I live in a country, like yours, that should be able to afford that.
I felt that way before I had children but when I did have them, it only reinforced it. My son has a disorder and because we were financially capable of me being home, of getting private speech and occupational therapy, of being able to learn the therapies ourselves, he's entered school in the best possible situation for him. We have that money and time, so many others don't... and while it was expensive now, I know he will turn into a productive, creative member of society instead of being limited and potentially a burden to the social safety net.
I don't understand people's narrow-minded view of taxes and being a little "socialistic". It's happening here in my country too so I'm pretty emotional about it. So much of what I read about those who have issues with Obama's ideas sound so much like greed and selfishness. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be rich! I am not against making money and I can't stop an adult from screwing up their lives, but I will always vote for a positive outlook and a government that is attempting to make all lives better.
That it exactly. After eight years of Bush, something I've apologized to my children for over and over, I am voting to make things better for my children and for your children, even the ones yet to be born. The positive changes in this country (the New Deal, civil rights, women's right to vote) have taken place when Democrats were in office and we need those positive changes now to undo the mess we're in.
The Politico has invited people to share their voting experiences. I think this one from Marian Wright Edelman is noteworthy:
A cartoon published in the early 1960s depicted a Black boy saying to a White boy: "I’ll sell you my chance to be President of the United States for a nickel." At the time the cartoon appeared, Barack Obama was a toddler. There were only five Black Members of Congress and about 300 Black elected officials nationwide. The Voting Rights Act hadn’t been passed and the overwhelming majority of Black Southerners were disenfranchised.
On the ballot this morning was a Black man for President of the United States, marking the culmination of a long evolutionary struggle for political empowerment among disenfranchised Americans. My fellow voters—of all races in every corner for America—will consider Obama’s presidential candidacy on the basis of his proposals, his vision and his intelligence.
This is a world-defining and nation-defining election. This morning as I stood in line to vote, I was moved by the realization that finally this is the day on which my fellow Americans are willing to do what Dr. King envisioned: vote for a President based on the content of his character rather than the color of his skin.
So ask everyone you know, did you vote for Barack Obama today?