I had the privilege of casting my vote today in an election that I personally believe has a lot more important issues that many voters are aware.
For starters, this has been the most expensive and probably the most derisive Presidential campaign in history filled with accusations and half-truths by both candidates. Nothing is sacred as each tries to gain the upper hand and is only stopping short of outright personal insults by some semblance of respect for the Law rather than to each other. There is something wrong when Super-Pac‘s can pour millions of dollars into a campaign without having to disclose the donors.
I am not really into politics and usually don’t care too much who wins as I figure that even after casting my vote, I am stuck with whoever that may be. I can’t do much about any of the decisions that are made by whoever wins the election and I have long given up in trying to understand how the politicians on the hill can ride roughshod over the American people and still remain in office. Why, for instance, do we send billions of dollars around the world helping other countries who literally hate and despise us for it when we have to make huge budget cuts at home and are losing services almost on a daily basis. We have almost one-third of our population that is either just on or below the poverty level, services that highly impact the poor are being cut almost on a daily basis, women are no longer in control of their own destiny as the politicians take control over their health care services and on and on.
To my way of thinking there is too much government in too many places but the States cannot do a better job as the majority are also without alternative funding and have made massive cuts of their own to get back under their own budget levels which also affects the poor and education system. I am lucky that I fall into the middle class but the bad side to that is that I and the others in that class, are being asked to pay for more and more while the very rich, the one percent, are paying less and less. Many of the one percent cannot help who they are and much of that wealth is “old” wealth established long ago but even so, a little more financial help from them would go a long way. How can politicians who represent us, the people, sign a pledge that they will not raise taxes on the wealthy, that same one percent we were just talking about. That one thing alone restricts them in many alternative ways to make decisions on financial matters, the poor are not in a position to even help themselves and that leaves the middle class to pay for everything.
I voted for President Obama four years ago as I was tired of the two Bush-era‘s that had done nothing but bring the country to its knees and I saw him as a very viable replacement. Although I am very disappointed with some of the efforts he has made and the fact that he does not stand up to the Republican controlled Congress, I have to say that compared to Mitt Romney, he is by far and away the better of the choices. He did inherit a bad mess and at the same time, an economic situation that was world-wide. I am very afraid that if Romney does win this election, we will surely end up in another war in the middle east, the top one percent will get even more protection than they get now, the environment will suffer as the big oil companies will be drilling in the most sensitive of places, the environmental protections already in place will slowly but surely be whittled away, global warming will be a thing that only environmentalists worry about and we, the middle class will end up footing the bill for all and any of these programs. That is, if he can remember which way he was thinking yesterday because it will probably have changed today. His flip-flopping would make an excellent TV act and if he wasn’t so rich already, he would be able to make a living on the stage.
By now, you can probably guess which way I voted and in my mind, it is the lesser of two evils. It’s not that I am a true Democrat and I mostly vote based on the service that incumbent may have already shown or in many cases, the most recent bill board or sign with someone’s name attached whose name has stuck in my brain and I recognize on the ballot as I never really take the time to figure out what some of the smaller races are all about. But, I have to say that I do not like what the Republicans believe in and the Tea Party movement may well bring the country down in the not too distant future.
Anyway, back to the voting experience today. I found where I was supposed to vote from the Travis County website and am forever grateful for the internet and the instant information available to us all in this day and age. In my case, it was one of the local Randall Supermarket stores. I thought that if I went either mid morning or mid afternoon, I might get to miss any long lines. Boy, was I wrong on that thinking. I chose mid-afternoon and when I walked in, the line was probably a hundred people long. It took almost a half an hour to get to the actual polling booth but was well worth the wait. I did not see anyone leave the line while I was in it and the complaining and griping was non-existent at least in my area of the line. People were striking up conversations with their neighbors and the time passed quickly enough. The weather outside had dropped to 50 degrees and was the first cooler day of this coming winter but luckily for all of us, Randall’s had turned on the heat. Oh yes, the line was even longer as I was leaving and as I said to one of the women that I was talking to earlier, the fact that there is a long line at mid afternoon is both good and bad. Good because it shows that people are taking enough interest in getting out to vote and bad because we were stuck in it.
I forgot to mention that the volunteers who were working the registrations and the actual voting machines had the foresight to hand out copies of the entire ballot forms for us to review before we reached the voting booth. I found that very helpful so when I got to the booth, I had an idea of what I was checking off. The electronic voting does make life much easier but it did take a couple of attempts for me to work out which way to turn the knob. I kept getting it wrong and going backwards instead of forwards. Wish I could do that with time and knock a few years off this aging body. Oh well…
For some reason, I felt very pleased with myself that I had taken the time to vote and more than a little excited. Not only is it our right as American Citizens, it is also the right thing to do. We tend to take democracy for granted living in this free country. I would not be able to write this particular blog if I lived in many parts of the World and I am very grateful for that. As an ex-pat from England, I really appreciate being an American at times like this when I can get involved and put in my five cents worth. When I was in England, I always voted even though I was much younger then and didn’t have a care in the world at least as far as politics go. Now I am a lot older, it is much harder to ignore especially in this day and age of super communication.
I urge all of you to get out there and vote. I am not trying to make up anyones mind for them as each of you have to vote with your conscience and your heart. My story is of my own particular experience, go out there and make one for yourself…