On Elections and Voting: Empower others

Why worry about who someone’s voting for or why?  Where is the power in that?

Why not focus instead on whether someone has found their voice, whether they are exercising their power by voting, whether they are encouraging others to vote?  That is powerful.

In 2008, I cried watching diverse people of all ages and races unite on election night.  I teared up again when our President proclaimed his pride, while my friend’s family and their infant daughter watched, in executing another human being.  I fumed reading headlines about battles in Washington DC, about budget crises, hate, restrictive new voting laws.

Where is the power in that?

I listened in stunned agreement when the Governor known best for lying spoke truth about faith and politics.  I heard the absent cry of humans dying around the world when foreign policy was discussed.

Where is the power in that? 

I shuddered in early 2008 with the understanding that our then-campaigning President would be no advocate for the poor.  Today I ache to see growing references to slavery in movies and media.  Ache, hearing the familiar entitlement, condescending tone in the Governor’s voice as he addresses the President.

Where is the power in that?

It hurts to see people struggle to treat others with dignity, because I know how much they must be hurting if being kind brings them pain.  It’s frustrating to witness the confounding struggle to protect freedom by limiting it.  

Where is the power in that?

It’s unclear how the average person is supposed to understand how legislation and policy breaks down along lines of class, race, gender and geography.  It’s difficult to clearly see and truly understand a reality that has been shaped, retouched, rewritten, finessed, and highlighted to advance a specific agenda.  I’ve watched in frustration, the ravaging conundrum that is capitalism, contingent freedom, and privileged democracy.

Where is the power in that?

While the entertainment factor of US campaigning and the distress factor around the world skyrockets, very little is said about how important, how easy it is to vote.  There’s been more interest in toys and office supplies during these campaigns than voter’s rights.

Where’s the power in that?

Of course, things do get better.  Always.

Whether that happens because things can get no worse, or because we slowly progress forward, is of no matter.

Place trust, faith in no man.

When our nation was born, our constitution said… Says… I am not fully human, and am not allowed to vote both because I’m black and because I’m a woman. We limit ourselves by expecting any human being to change the downward spiral of the planet and human race, particularly in the same length of time it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Where is the power in that?

I’m no politician, but I have a voice.  I’ve dedicated my life to figuring out how and when to use it for the best purpose.  That is powerful.

We can’t let the terribly divisive tactics of media, political parties and personal agenda drive us into angered silence.  That only feeds self-destruction.  Nothing grows or flourishes when it seeks to destroy itself.  Sickness worsens with neglect.

Where is the power in that?

Be informed.  Learn about what’s at stake this election.  Research it, from all sides.  Make a decision.  Vote.  That is powerful.

I turn 33 this year, and look forward to my birthday because something important that’s not about me tends to happen around that date.  One year, we earned hundreds of thousands of dollars for a local urban farm.  Another year hundreds of volunteers helped improve our community center.  Another year a man was elected to lead a nation… In spite of the fact that its founders proclaimed him less than human.  That is powerful.

This year, we have a chance to vote not only for the President, but for Senate and Assembly seats, for laws that affect how we all live.  That is powerful.

Wherever we all stand on issues of politics, we can agree voting is important, powerful.  Think about how much of your time and effort is spent empowering others to simply find and use their voice by voting, vs. how much time is spent distracting from their empowerment to advance your agenda.

Where is the power in that?

If you are one of the privileged few who understand and feel impassioned about the way the American democracy works, your voice will be particularly important in empowering others to use theirs and vote, as election day nears.

That is powerful.

Please share your thoughts, encouragement, questions, I'd love to see them.

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