If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Rights, Privileges, and Duties

I don't know if I've been ultra-introspective lately because of my stage of life or because of what is going on in my life.

Am I a product of what is going on or am I a product of what has come before?

I'm not really certain and I don't know that it really matters either way.

This is an election year.

We see advertisements and hear them and are bombarded by appeals to support one candidate or another.

I did as I almost always do during an election - I voted early.

When I 'became and adult' and reached the age to take part in our country's most important civil duty, my father impressed upon me how I should exercise this right each and every opportunity that I could.

He stressed that it is a privilege and is one of the most powerful tasks we have in our country.

He reinforced how important it was for so many people - especially women - who came before me and how they sacrificed to provide me that right.

Then, when every election would roll around during my young adult life, he would remind me to go and vote or would ask me if I had already voted in the early polls.

He taught me how to research and read and learn everything I could about each and every candidate and to vote for the candidate and not the party or the platform but to vote for the candidate.

Over the years, I've seen my Daddy's political views evolve and his attitude change.  Yet, his early teachings have remained firm in my marrow and I still take the privilege of voting very seriously.

So, when early voting in my state was announced as open, I dug in and really studied the candidates to determine who deserved my vote.

After my preliminary investigations, my one thought was, "Is this the best that we as a country have to offer as our leader?"

Honestly, my reaction seemed more like, "We really have gone to hell in a handbasket."

I couldn't force myself to vote until that last day of early voting because I just couldn't support any one candidate with fervor.

Finally, with my father's voice ringing in my head, I went to the poll and clicked the button.

Even as I left the local polling place, I still felt concern about the future of our country if this primary represented our best, our brightest and our shiniest.

Then, a day or so later, I saw this post in social media by a former student with whom it makes me proud to know I had a few moments of interaction several years ago:

How many of y'all who vote for people, not parties, have absolutely no clue who to vote for? I didn't early vote because I have absolutely no clue. I do not feel any candidates represent the values of the general population. I do know Mrs. Clinton will not get my vote. As a woman, I feel she is an embarrassing opportunist. Otherwise she would have left her husband years ago for making her look like a weak woman who needs to ride on his coattail in order to be successful. Nah boo, go home. Real life house of cards. I don't share much on national politics but I'm just at a loss right now, and I'm curious if I'm not the only one.

After reading Lindsey's post, I felt such a strong pull to answer.

I realized that I had made a decision and felt comfortable with that decision and with my action.

So, I responded:

I, too, struggled to make a decision, Lindsey. However, I finally did all my 'studying' to determine who would be the better person for the job and clicked the button. I kept asking myself if this is all we as a country had to offer. Then, I began to look back at history and who our early leaders were - think Thomas Jefferson, for example. He helped to advance our country even as a flawed human being. Most of our early leaders were just that - strong advancers of our democracy even though they were flawed human beings. Listen and read and your heart will eventually guide you. You are a wise young woman and will think this through - I feel confident in that. If you listen to others, we will all have an opinion. Form one of your own and follow your heart. Then, even if we wind up choosing someone who disappoints us as a leader, that is nothing new but we do the best we have with what we've got at the time.

I truly feel that deep in my bones each and every person should exercise the right and privilege we each have as an American citizen.  Get out there and vote on this Super Tuesday, friends!