I got this e-mail from my friend Cindy today, we've been friends since college, about 10-11 years ago. I really admire her because she's one of those people who lives what she believes, even if it went against the conventional. The school that we attended was, at that time, famous for turning a generation of women into good little God-fearing housewives, which was great if you're into that!
This e-mail is about the importance of voting, even if our choices have boiled down to choosing between a turd sandwich and douche! (Thank you Trey and Matt!) I am guilty, as of this year, of being a hyprocrite, I didn't vote.
Here's her email:
To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. - Albert Hubbard
it's been a tiring weekend. with other volunteers (thank you marnie, letty, and tim!), I've been canvassing an 8-block by 2-block area in my neighborhood of ballard, here in seattle, urging people to get out on tuesday and to exercise a right that is too often taken for granted: the right to governmental self-determination. the right to have your opinion heard. the right to know that your individual voice, however small, is not insignificant.
until a few years ago, I was the world's most apolitical person. I could name the president and vice-president, but other than that, I knew almost nothing about our government and its policies, and honestly didn't much care to know. all that changed in the summer of 2002, when I returned from the peace corps. I came home to a country that no longer resembled the country I had left two years prior. and in the two years since, the united states I grew up in has become more and more bizarre and surreal. we have fewer rights, less privacy, dirtier air and water, worse and less accessible health care, a soaring national deficit, a pre-emptive war that has proven impossible from which to extricate ourselves, reluctant allies, and more enemies. this is not the country I was proud to represent, and swore to defend "against all enemies, domestic and foreign," when I took my oath as a peace corps volunteer.
I'm not going to tell you who to vote for on tuesday. politics, like faith, is an intensely personal issue, and I know that I'm risking alienating friends by sending this e-mail in the first place. however, I could not let this week pass without making my stance known. it's much too important a week for you to say, oh, well, I was going to send in an absentee ballot, but I lost it in my pile of junk mail. or, gosh, well, I had a big project come up on tuesday morning and just couldn't get to the polls in time.
if this election has ME, a self-professed political apathetic, not only voting on tuesday, but attending meetings and rallies, calling on friends to help me canvass, making phone calls, and risking the possibility of pissing people off with my views, isn't that a testament to the importance of the issues at hand?
I heard a field organizer say last wednesday that she believes that this tuesday will be the most important day of her entire life. think about that! not the day she graduated from college or got married, but election day 2004! is she right? I think so. tuesday's election will determine, to a large extent, the direction in which this country is headed -- and not just for the next four years. america is waiting, but the world is watching. and, like it or not, we are part of the world.
on tuesday, I urge you: vote with your conscience, vote with your god-given mind, and vote with your gut. choose the person over the party, bravery over belligerence, integrity over intimidation, and compassion over cronyism. but please, just vote.
thanks for reading. salaam and shalom.