Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vote! Its Your American Responsibility

I was excited to get up this morning and go do my duty to my country by voting.  I had discussed voting with my kids (see my previous post).  I had researched the candidates and issues and knew what I was going to do.  The sun was shining bright on the hard frost covering the ground.  The kids got up eagerly with my 3 year old son asking endless questions about voting and eager to get his "I Voted" sticker.
We drove to our little township hall which is our only polling location.  We got there about 7:20 a.m. and I stopped to take a couple of pictures outside to savor the feeling of the morning (I feel this eager every time I get the privilege of voting).  As we came to the door to enter, a woman came out the exit door frowning and shaking her head.  "20 minute wait time!" she grumbled.  "That's not bad at all." was my reply.  She frowned at me and grumbled again "Huh, its 20 minutes!" as she hurried away.  I was stunned at her anger over 20 minutes but didn't really think too much - until later.

The kids and I continued on.  Entering the small building, filling out the little slip of paper to verify that I was eligible to vote, showing the clerk my ID to match me to the township registered voter list, waiting in line to get to the lady who was swiping driver's licenses into a computer (apparently we are going high-tech for our little township) and finally to the woman passing out the ballots.  The kids waited patiently with my son pointing out "Mom, look!  There's an American flag! And another American flag!".  "Yes, honey, there sure is.  That's why we are here!"  A few little giggles and a couple of older people joking about how quiet it was, one of the elderly clerks joked that they could perhaps sing to entertain us but she didn't think we would be impressed.  Then on to the voting booth with my ballot.  Here in Michigan, we have several constitutional amendments on the ballot and there were a couple of county issues to vote on too.  Combined with all the elected positions, it made for two sides of the big paper to fill out all those little bubbles.  I had come prepared but even knowing how I was voting it took 3-4 minutes to fill out.  After I was done, another clerk took my little slip of eligibility paper and added it to a stack.  Then I fed my ballot to the machine and waited while the clerk gave us our "I Voted" stickers.  We paused to take a couple more pictures outside and then off on our way.  Even with the extra driving miles, a run-through for breakfast and slightly altered morning routine for getting the kids to school, I got to work about 40 minutes later than usual.
After dropping the kids off, my thoughts kept returning to this woman and her frustration at being inconvenienced to vote for 20 whole minutes.  The more I thought, the more angry I got.  I hear people complain all day long about elected officials and how they are scumbags and liars, they don't make the right decisions, the laws they pass, the taxes, and on and on and on.  Way more than 20 minutes of complaining...

These are the people WE chose to elect to these positions.  Oh sure, there are those who get the job because nobody else stepped forward and they are the only one on the ballot.  You know what, if you think you know better - maybe you should get involved with the committees and issues and become a candidate yourself!  Do something!  If you don't vote - you don't have any right to say anything about anything that gets done in this country - Period!  If you don't know the voting laws and get yourself registered (which you should do and can easily do any time you renew your driver's license or right online...) then you too have no right to complain about any of the lawmakers or the laws they pass.  None!  If you do go to vote and you do not know anything about the candidates or the issues - you shouldn't vote on them - leave it blank and vote only on what you know.  If you eenie-meanie-minie-mo your way through a ballot then you unfairly cancel the vote of someone who took the time to know the issues and candidates and make an educated decision!
What really fires me up is this...  

My own brother (and many of my friends and family) went to hell and back to protect your right to vote and live in a democracy.  He saw friends of his die for my rights and yours.  He will always live with demons because of what it took to protect us from others who do not believe in this free country we live in and would see it destroyed.  And he doesn't regret it for a minute.

I think the least you can do is prove why you deserve those rights by sacrificing a few minutes or hours of one day every few years standing in line to voice your opinion about the future of our country!!

1 comment:

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Hopefully she went back later to vote. I was thrilled this year that there was no line when I showed up. One year I waited for almost 90 minutes!