Politics. Again.

Last weekend when Earl and I were in Pennsylvania with his relatives the subject of the upcoming elections came up. To me this is somewhat of a foreign concept because there was an unwritten rule in my family that you just didn’t talk politics. You certainly participated by going to the fire hall and casting your vote, but you didn’t talk about it.

Anyway, as Earl and his family were playing cards, his step-aunt and I conversed in the living room and she asked who I was going to vote for. I said without hesitation that my vote was going to Obama and I stated the various reasons why: the past eight years have been nothing short of a nightmare and I believe a step in the wrong direction for the United States. I said that I believed that Obama’s message of “change” and “hope” is completely valid. I did preface my comments with “I would have voted for Hillary”, but that’s water under the bridge. Michelle said that she would probably vote for Obama as well and stated her reasons why. We were pretty much in agreement.

The next day at the wedding reception, Earl’s aunt asked us who we were voting for. Earl responded with “Obama, of course.” The aunt nodded and had nothing else to say. She is obviously for McCain. The conversation stopped there. We were being polite at the wedding reception after all. I had a hunch that there may have been racial concerns. Another said she wasn’t voting for Obama because he’d probably be shot before inauguration and she didn’t want to see him dead. Love that logic.

All that being said, I think Earl’s stepmom said something that I think a lot of people need to think about. Unfortunately, race plays a big part in many people’s decision. Personally I think factoring in race when making a decision like this is crazy but then again I don’t even come close to thinking like the rest of the crowd. Earl’s stepmom simply said that people should just close their eyes and listen to what the candidates are saying. If your judgement is clouded by race, then take race out of the picture. Close your eyes and open your mind because then the choice is perfectly obvious: she’s voting for Obama (but would have rather voted for Hillary). I have always liked my mother-in-law.

Listening to NPR yesterday I heard a person make a comment that I found to be brilliant. This is the longest presidential campaign in the history of our country. It is also the most expensive. The media coverage has been nothing short of overwhelming. The person said that if you had not made up your mind this late in the game, with less than two weeks until the election, then the motivation, thought and consideration behind your vote is going to be dubious at best. I couldn’t agree more. Granted, this is the perfect time to sway undecided voters in one direction or another, but if the truth were to come down to it, Americans should be making intelligent, well thought out choices based on the information that has been presented before them over the past countless months before casting their vote. A rushed, uninformed decision before doing whatever electronic gimmick you have to vote these days is not doing your duty as an American citizen. Picking the “handsome one” or the “white one” or the “woman who can see Russia from her house” or the “man with the bad hair” for those reasons alone is irresponsible. It’s our duty to know our candidates and make that well thought out vote.

Personally I can’t understand why a person doesn’t vote for Obama. A vote for McCain is a vote for “same same same”. The vote in that direction also says to me that you ‘tolerate’ Earl and I as a couple. (I will not be simply ‘tolerated’). It says that health care is not a basic necessity for everybody. (Sick people are o.k. if they’re poor?) It tells me that you trust Anita Bryant Jr. and the whacky Jesus 7 with the nuclear launch codes should something (god forbid) happen to John McCain. I hope the witches don’t get her on Hallowe’en.

Know your vote and know it well.