City of Roses
This year, and every subsequent election cycle from here on out, I'm voting my heart, plain and simple.
To be brutally honest, my vote was generally heavily influenced by fear in the past. The 2004 presidential election certainly was. I was led to believe the only sensible mode of voting was by the "lesser of two evils" mindset, even though I believed a secondary candidate from another party reflected my values and vision for this country better. Fear took me hostage and my ballot was cast toward who I perceived as the "lesser of two evils" that cycle.
No more. I believe always abiding by a lesser-than-two-evils outcome is only somewhat less counterproductive than not voting. In our everyday dialogue we don't say "Who'd you vote against?". We don't wear buttons that says "Don't Vote ____". I want my vote to be predicated on what I'm FOR and what I believe in, not who or what I'm against. Voting under "the lesser of two evils" mentality does nothing but invite a defensive posturing each subsequent election season, and the end result is a Congress inundated with representatives that don't reflect our desires and values that we inevitably fret about afterward.
Not until we get past that "lesser of two evils" paranoia and vote our hearts will we ever have a Congress that is true to what hard-working Americans and their families far and wide dream and live for. Sometimes, the recipient of that vote may be from either of the two dominant parties, but sometimes it won't, and it doesn't matter. When you vote your heart, you can't go wrong.
I also want my vote to reflect my limbic instincts as opposed to my triune ones. There was a major rally over the weekend devoted to "Restoring Sanity". It's a relative term, and "Restoring Sanity", to me, is about thinking of the political and social modes of discourse as a marketplace or bazaar of ideas and exchange, where we are all dependent on each other but not in the form of "compromise" either, necessarily..........where we can also look each other in the eyes without the preconceived notion of fear or exoticism, and be able to speak and breathe easier without addressing each other solely as the "other".
It has gotten to the point where neighbors can hardly look each other in the eyes just because their political views are at odds. "Restoring sanity", to me, is about recognizing and valuing that we are human, and it is okay to get angry, but it is a whole other thing when we're spraying nothing but anger like some sort of water sprinkler system meets automatic rifle. "Restoring sanity", to me, is about relieving the filibuster-proof majority of our triune brains of their unchecked and unbalanced authority over the rest of our minds, and investing more in our limbic brains, where mutual reciprocity flourishes, as well as our nurturing capacities.
This is something that obviously transcends ideology. This is about each and every one of us, as individuals. Restoring sanity truly begins with ourselves. That's where my individual vote comes in, and I want it to be cast out of my positive vision for myself and the world we inhabit, not out of spite and blind rage.
Finally, I want my vote to represent who I believe would be best at providing a more sustainable society that will be either as good or better than the one we inhabit now, while also taking heart to and fostering the democratic cornerstones we hold dear. Often I think we predicate our votes on short-term instant gratification, first and foremost, and long-term prospects and vision always seem to be relegated to the attics of public consciousness. I want my vote to reflect my hope for the future just as much as I want it to reflect a genuine consideration for our fundamental values and principles, as well as present-day problem-solving.
I'm not interested in bumper sticker sloganeering, and I believe voting a straight party ticket by default is counterintuitive to our democratic ideals, as I believe it's who we believe the best individual in the race that matters. After all, we can go on and on all day coming up with (R) and (D) stick shift analogies, but the bottom line is no automobile can start without (I)gnition. Our nation is one built and which flourishes to this day because of our individualism and independent spirit, and the best way to pay homage to that is by voting by individual with an individualistic conscience.
So please, I encourage everyone who hasn't done so already to please vote. A vote not cast is like a hoarse, one-winged sparrow.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"