Monday, November 3, 2008

Rock the vote? Or rock the boat?

All over the airwaves are orders to "rock the vote" to "make yourself heard", to make sure you go and vote because if you don't you have no voice.....

Today when waiting for Reed to come walking out of school, I heard a man say this on his phone: "Nah, man, I ain't gonna vote. Don't make no difference, do it? I mean, Bush got elected anyway, didn't he?"

I may have mentioned a few times how much I hate apathy. But just in case, let me drive it home. All of these sentiments are near-infuriating to me: -"My efforts don't matter. I make no difference." -"What's the point?" -"I don't know. I don't really care. I don't have much opinion on the matter." I tend to feel really awful when I find myself guilty of apathy or complacency.

Inwardly, this is what I was shouting, "What's WRONG with you?! What are you SAYING?! Way to negate your voice and your influence!! Choose, darn you! Choose!" And that's when I started to laugh. Indeed, what would I have said to him? Choose! You HAVE to voice your choice!

You see the irony here, don't you? And now it seeps out of the television and out of the radio: Vote! Do it! You MUST!

I remember my mom giving me a home-school lesson about voting, democracy, freedom, etc....she expressed her joy at having the ability to vote, the ability to contribute to the future of the country, and often in the direction she prayed for. But then she said that because we have that freedom, that right, that it is ALSO our right to choose not to vote.

*GASP!!!* My patriotic sensibilities were completely offended! I understood what she was saying, but I was disheartened by the thought of anyone giving up their chance to vote.

So when I heard this oh-so-eloquently expressed opinion today, I had to try very hard not to say something back. So much is done to protect our freedoms, but especially--specifically--our freedom of voice, our right to express and make known our deepest beliefs.

I called Phill. What else could I do?
Me, breathless: "Honey, this guy at Reed's school was talking about not voting because he doesn't think it matters at all!!....isn't that crazy?"
Phill: "Well, that's silly. Of course it matters. Actually, um, I might not vote."
"WHAT?!" (Actually clutching my throat melodramatically, breathing very fast)
"But for the opposite reason. I know my vote matters. And I'm not sure yet that I want to take responsibility for voting for either candidate. I don't know yet if I can live with the effects of either choice."
"Oh." (Pausing for a long time, feeling my heart slow down as I process this....)
"Do you know what I mean?"
"Yeah.....but vote anyway? Just write in Mickey Mouse?" (Pleading)
"We'll see!"

Which leads me to this: I'm not going to yell from the rooftops ROCK THE VOTE! (I think that was last election's slogan? Heh...maybe I'm way off the mark there....that'd be funny.) But I will say: EXERCISE YOUR FREEDOM OF CHOICE! Enjoy your agency! Whatever you choose: Be it Obama, McCain, Mickey Mouse, or even the absence of your vote. Rock the vote or rock the boat. :)

P.S.-For the record, because I know some of you are sitting with bitten fingernails about to fall off the edge of your seat, I AM voting, and I am voting for.....

.....gotcha. I knew for about 32 hours who I was voting for, and that was the longest I had remained decided. I am--once again--undecided, hardly a day between now and my turn to vote, and thinking that I will be surprised to see whatever I choose. But I'm happy I can choose.


Marie said...

Great post! I liked your take on it. It irks me when people don't vote, too, but I never thought of it the way Phill described it today or the way your mom explained it to you. They've got a point!

Lara said...

And that's what makes our country so wonderful!

Kate said...

Yes it is wonderful that we have the option to vote, and we can make a difference even if it is Mickey Mouse.

Andrea said...

Very good point! I am honestly a little scared to vote today. There are so many offices that I have no idea about the candidates (and these are local ones where my vote really can make a difference). I hate to be an uninformed voter, but I've been focusing on the presidential race, and now I'm left a bit clueless on the rest. Guess I'll be busy trying to figure out who these other people are. I do no for CERTAIN that I will not be voting for "Superdell" for governor. Can you believe that guy is running? Wonder if he'll get any votes?