Just a reminder that these are my thoughts of the moment, and mine alone. I included random snapshots of recent happenings to spice things up a bit, but don’t strain the brain to understand their relevance to the post, as there really isn’t a connection. Enjoy!
I felt removed from the elections this year. When I wanted to read about the candidates or watch parts of the debates, I had to seek it out instead of it being thrown at me. I liked the power I had to choose just how deeply I got invested. This power was with me even in the States but there it was easier to ignore the option of standing back, opting out, keeping my distance. Besides, I didn’t want to be apathetic.
And I wasn’t. I got rolled up in the elections of 2008, even donating a small amount to one of the campaigns and then proudly wearing the free (super soft like it’s already been well worn in) t-shirt I got as a thank you gift around town, keeping my senses perked to see if anyone treated me differently because of the face on my shirt. I was ready to have a conversation full of all my feisty opinions.
But I don’t know. With the distance of being in Paraguay this year I’ve had space to think. My values don’t wholly line up with any of the candidates. How much money are we putting toward defense – developing weapons that can take out the “enemy” (and whoever else happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time)? This pacifist doesn’t see the sense in that at all. I can’t wrap my mind around that view of the world.
So is picking the better of the main candidates good enough? Worth my support? Ignore the crazy budget and focus on other areas I care about like education, social programs, and positive ways to relate with other countries through programs like the Peace Corps? Even though what I truly expect is far more from my powerful government?
Not throwing my vote behind someone is sacrificing the right that women in our country in the not-too-distant-past were denied. The right we all have to express our preferences. Or would actively not voting be expressing my preferences for something beyond what the two parties have plans for?
I did vote. And I’m happy I did. I faxed it in from our little town in Paraguay on November 5. My voice was heard. My vote was tallied for my state of Indiana. I’m hopeful for what these next few years will bring – for myself, our country, the world at large.
But I’m also thankful for the space I was given this year to stand back and question if it’s all worth digging a deep ditch of separation between me and the other side. I’m glad for the chance to reflect on where my allegiance truly lies. And question what it means to be an informed, active, grateful citizen of the United States of America.
How was your experience with the elections this year? Would you ever consider actively not voting? Has your passionate participation in the process evolved over the years?