Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I Voted Today - I Did Not Want to - But, I Voted Today

“Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots, or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.

When you vote, you are exercising political authority, you're using force. And force, my friends, is violence, the supreme authority from which all other authorities are derived.” - Robert A. Heinlein

I did not want to vote today. I did not want to interrupt my sleep. I did not want to waste my energy. I did not want to put my name on a ballot that I felt did not represent me or what I stand for. The thought actually made me a little ill. Luckily, Dr. Jill Stein and the Green Party made it onto the ballot in Texas, so I was given a third option against Trump and Clinton. At a little after 8 A.M., I got up out of my bed, took a fresh shower, got into some nice clothes, put on my Father's old heavy leather jacket, and in the rain, walked up the street to my neighborhood polling place to cast my ballot.

There were a few other things pushing me out the door, though, these being besides my third option. In my dreams, as if from beyond the grave, many of the people, since passed in my family, were telling me to do my duty as a citizen. Two stood out. My Father told me that I may not always like the options on the ballot, but at least by voting, I have earned the constitutional right to hold my government accountable and to voice my discontent when they do something that I do not approve of. My Grandfather told me that a Citizen's duties are not always comfortable, and will certainly, many times, make one come out feeling dirty, but that is what it takes to be a citizen. When the future of your country is on the line, you have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and get dirty. This is Civcs 101, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Combine this bit of mysticism with the fact that I know what the voter franchise has meant to people in this country in its brief history. Since 1789, people have literally dropped sweat, blood, tears, and even, their very lives, to be able to vote. Countless lynchings of would be voters, some even proudly displayed next to polling places as they died swinging, are evidence of what the voter franchise is worth in this country, to both sides. One side can see the power of inclusion that comes with the vote, and the other can feel the power that comes with the ability to control the vote.

So, as I was lying in bed this morning, listening to the voices of those passed on, memorializing those that lost their lives to be able to vote, and considering those who presently struggle to get the right vote, my conscience would not allow me to waste my day away. I got up, and with the Power of Inclusion in mind, and I voted, as should we all. If this makes me naive, so be it.

"Imagine all the people sharing the world in peace. It's easy if you try." John Lennon

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