On Tuesday, November 6th, we have the incredible privilege to make our voices heard and to choose the men and women who will represent us in our city, county, state, and national governments. (I know, many of you have already voted via absentee ballot. So have I... but Tuesday is the official election day, so bear with me here.) I urge you all, if you haven't already done so, to take the opportunity to make your voices heard. This is an incredible privilege and shouldn't be taken for granted! It wasn't that long ago, after all, when the right to vote for those who would represent us wasn't an established fact for large groups of people in this great nation of ours. You have the choice. Don't let someone else speak for you!
As you go to the polls to make your voice heard, please take a moment to think about the choices you make. No, I'm not going to hop up on my soapbox and tell you how you should cast your ballot. That's the great thing about the whole system. I can vote for the person I think would best represent my beliefs and my best interests... You can vote for the person who will best represent you... and because it's a secret ballot, no one can bully or shame us into changing our minds. Please take a few moments before you cast your vote to learn about the candidates and vote for the person that YOU feel is right. If you don't vote, or you only vote for someone because your mom, dad, cousin, spouse, neighbor, best friend or political party tells you to, then you're giving your voice to someone else. Don't give up your opportunity to choose!
But when we come out of the voting booth, after casting our ballots according to our own consciences, can we make a pact to put the division and animosity behind us?
Every time a major election rolls around, I'm disheartened at the "us" vs. "them" mentality that pervades. Suddenly, I find myself in the middle of a war zone, with friends and family on both sides of every debate. The "informed debates" quickly disintegrate into name-calling and hatred. Feelings are hurt, friendships ended, family relationships strained....
Remember last week, when I said that writers and agents should be aware of the way they present themselves in public, as well as in private? And that we should show respect for each other and ourselves by keeping the snarky, hateful comments to ourselves? Well, I firmly believe that the same rule applies in every aspect of our lives.
So please vote for the candidates you believe in. And don't let anyone take away your voice. But then remember that the "other side" often includes your close friends, family and neighbors. People you loved and cared for before the election got in the way. Take a moment to mend some fences. Do something nice for someone you've disagreed with. And let's resolve to work together moving forward.
I declare this Wednesday, November 7th, to be "Love Your Enemies Day!" The challenge: choose someone who you have disagreed with, or someone who has hurt your feelings, and do something nice for them!!
Will you join me?