I have a very good friend who is a political junky. She volunteers and makes phone calls and loves the whole process of elections. In fact, she's one of the top volunteers in our area for her party. Because her phone number is unlisted, she doesn’t get the recorded messages and misses them. She loves watching the ads on television and reading the print pieces from all the candidates. The media frenzy fascinates her. She never gets annoyed with it or tired of it.
Needless to say, this is her favorite day of the year.
My response to this media frenzy is different. In the past two weeks, our house has received a number of recorded phone calls from many different candidates. Ohio is a hot state this election, so the activity here has been intense. While intellectually I know that the recorded calls work (no candidate would pay for them if they didn’t!), they don’t work on me because I don’t listen. Yesterday, I was in the bathroom when the phone rang. I rushed to answer (you’ve all done this, haven’t you?) and it was a RECORDED political message. Grrrr.
When Newt Gingrich called my house this weekend, I hung up on him. Putting aside the entire issue of politics, hanging up on Newt was deeply satisfying. I don’t care how famous he is, he doesn’t have the right to bother me in my own home. Click. Score one for the housewife!
We don’t watch network television anymore, so we didn’t see the nasty televised ads. But I’d be tired of them if we had been watching.
I am NOT, however, tired of living in a country that regularly allows me to fill little circles on a ballot and register my opinion. On Election Day, I feel like the luckiest woman alive. I bounce happily into my polling place, full of smiles and kind words to the poll volunteers, take my ballot, go to my little cubicle, and VOTE! I’d squeal with joy if it wouldn’t distract other people.
My political junky friend and I both share this deep and abiding passion for the exercise of democracy. We don’t understand people who don’t make time to vote, who don’t exercise a right that our country’s founders fought to give us, who don’t see the point in doing something that millions of people alive today in less fortunate countries desperately want to do and can't.
Those people, the oppressed and silent masses whose voices are not heard in their own lands…I think of them on Election Day.
For my American readers, if you already voted, I thank you. If you haven’t and aren’t planning to, I urge you to get off your butt and just do it. I don’t care who you vote for, what issues you support or oppose, or what party you identify with.
You can vote.
And that makes you the luckiest human alive.