Get Out The Vote!

After many hours of watching the inspiring political conventions, I now truly understand my grandson’s enthusiasm for the Lakers. The speeches were great, it was very exciting and I cheered a lot.  I certainly hope my team wins the pennant.

         I am happy to be an American and I believe in democratic elections. While I’d like to see some changes in the electoral system, I’m happy with the balance of power between the legislative, executive, and judicial  branches of government. I even believe that most of the people in politics are honest and well-meaning.

That said, I don’t agree with everyone and I don’t think things are as good as they can get. While I know the United States is a world leader in liberty and justice for all, I also know we can do better. Change is a long time coming. Most of all, I don’t want to go backward.

Last week, I was especially pleased to hear Rep. John Lewis talk about marching with Dr. King back in the “olden days.” Many of you weren’t born but I was an adult and I marched in a few mild parades myself. I even worked on Rep. Shirley Chisholm’s campaign.

Mostly, I watched history unfold on the nightly news and those images are engraved in my mind. Hoses turned on school children! You cannot imagine how heart wrenching that was to parents and teachers like myself.

My personal memories may seem as distant as the fighting in the trenches during World War One or sailing to North America in clipper ships. However, my memories are not irrelevant because I want to remind us all that we stood for courage, fairness and equality for a long time. That is not political spin.

The great New Thought leader, Emmet Fox, believed that the United States had a spiritual destiny to lead the world into government based on spiritual principles and Love. Many New Thought leaders believe that New Thought came of age in the United States because of our nation’s founding principles of freedom and equality.

I think it is important to remember who we are and then to envision who we can be. I also think it is very important to vote in November.

I have New Thought friends and acquaintances who think all political activities are nonsense. Some of them are quite proud that they never read or listen to the news. There are even some New Thought authors who suggest we handle stress by turning off the news. I cannot agree.

Letting elected officials do their thing without citizen’s supervision is a blueprint for disaster. We take care of our physical bodies and we want to take care of our planet… so why wouldn’t we take care of our government?

Laws are important. Many of them directly impact me, my friends, and my family. It is also my loving duty to watch out for my neighbor.  Whether it is the right to vote, health care, aid to dependent children or tax cuts for the wealthy, they quite directly matter in our lives.

I am mildly politically active. I read and listen. I write letters, sign petitions, send money, and exercise my vote. While I truly believe in the separation of church and state, I did not give up my rights as a citizen when I became a minister. Besides, I’m (sort of) retired.

I have no desire to pass laws that make others believe the way I do. On the other hand, I don’t want to live under laws based on some one else’s narrower religious beliefs. Several subjects, including same-sex marriage, the right to contraception and abortion, leaving Iraq and Afghanistan, school funding, labor rights, prison reform and extending voting ability are on my mind these days. This year, there is no way I want to be above the fray!

Most New Thought followers hold definite views on many of these same subjects. However, I know that some people who believe all political parties and politicians are equally wrong. Believe me – some politicians are more equal than others.

When citizens are silent, bad things can happen. We used to laugh when I was in Long Beach State College. It seemed as though our professors started all their sentences with, “I’m not a communist but…” Those professors were politically silent and they were terrified. Many good ones lost their jobs because of McCarthy’s damage.

As we all know, people have different opinions. There are always more than one way to look at things.  Our experiences are different. Some of us have more money than others. Gender makes a difference. Facts seem more or less important. The majority rules when the majority votes but when the majority skips the voting booth, the minority rules by default.

We can tell ourselves that everyone creates his own reality and it’s all good but that doesn’t always work. If someone imposes his belief about who you can marry or decides against your rights in favor of the “unborn child”, you won’t like it.

I want to make my opinion heard. I want my  elected officials to know that “survival of the fittest economics” doesn’t appeal to me.

The list of issues is long and challenging. Jobs may top the list but it is not alone. We need to insure all children are well-fed, well-schooled and have a roof over their heads. We need to retrain our displaced labor force. We need to stay out of costly wars that kill. Good government can make a lot of difference.

Please, please, do not turn away and say, “A pox on both their houses.” Believe me, there is a difference in the kind of  “houses” that are being proposed.

You have a right to make the choice you want. You also have a right not to vote. But – if you stay away from the polls, it will be pointless to complain. Anyone who thinks she can enjoy the freedom of this nation and not exercise her choice to vote, is mistaken.

Ask Yourself

Do I agree with Dr. Jane?

Am I informed?

Am I registered?

Do I want to volunteer?