I know, I know, if you aren’t afraid, you probably aren’t paying attention. But let’s be hypothetical for a moment; everybody needs a break now and then.
Would you do anything differently if you could just vote your honest-to-goodness-conscience with no fear of the consequences? It’s something I’ve been pondering a good deal recently, for obvious reasons if you follow American politics.
There are so many of us, with so many different wants, goals, needs, dreams: how many of us really vote for someone we truly, fully believe in, without fear of what will happen if we don’t vote against something or someone?
Just hypothetically, how would you vote if you could vote without fear?
Would you vote for Bernie Sanders, or the Green Party candidate, or the Libertarian candidate, or your Uncle Jim? Is there even a Tea Party Candidate?
I was reading the other day that Norway has four parties, and they govern together, based on percentage of votes. I don’t suppose that is a perfect system, it still involves people, but it certainly seemed interesting. I DO know that Norwegians statistically have a better quality of life than those of us in the US, so who knows?
And what about the ISSUES?
Would we vote for the obscenely rich – especially corporations – to pay their fair share in taxes if we didn’t have to be afraid of abortion getting tacked onto the platform?
Would we vote for our families to have better quality, more affordable health care if weren’t afraid the government would take all our money, or the death panels would come for grandma?
Maybe I’m naive, but I can’t shake the thought that if we could all freely vote our conscience, education would be so well funded that teachers’ salaries would put doctors’ salaries to shame!
If you could create a platform built on your own values, what would it look like?
Fair taxes! I don’t mind paying taxes. Really. It is a right and a responsibility of citizenship, and I’m a citizen. I LIKE having good roads, reliable electricity, and a functional police force. But two things I DO mind: corporations and billionaires not having to pay anything like a fair share of taxes, and my tax money being used predominantly for things that don’t have a substantial positive impact on the quality of my daily life. Or at least the lives of those I care about more than I care about big corporations’ profits and needless foreign wars.
Political Campaign Reform (i.e. separation of Corporation and State)! We used to have to fear the all powerful King or Dictator. Now we have to fear the huge, wealthy corporations that own our government. This isn’t better. Especially since you can assassinate the King or Dictator, in a pinch, but corporations can’t be dispatched in so simple, complete a manner.
Education and children’s services! I don’t have kids myself, but even if I were completely selfish, having the US workforce of the future be the best in the world just makes good sense to me. Especially in that part of the future when I’m old and need social security and well educated doctors! As it is, I am also just unselfish enough to think kids deserve better too.
Single Payer Healthcare! We are SOOO far behind all developed nations on this that it’s embarrassing, and worse, it’s dangerous. And freaking expensive. Also, it irks me that healthcare is a big reason people stay in jobs that steal their lives.
There are definitely others, but let us start there, hit those with all our might, then tackle the next thing.
Now, your list is probably very different from mine.
What are your top dreams for the future of our nation, and your family’s lives?
In this season, of course, I’m pondering whether I’ll need to vote for a woman I neither respect or trust, out of fear of having Donald Trump become president of my nation – a concept that I still struggle to imagine as anything but a bad Saturday Night Live skit – or whether voting for people I actually respect and even approach trusting is a viable option.
At the same time, I know that some of my fellow travellers have to decide whether to vote for a man they neither respect nor trust, out of fear of having Hilary Clinton become President of the their nation, or whether voting for someone they actually respect and perhaps even approach trusting is a viable option.
I don’t know, yet, what I’m going to choose. A lot of it depends on my man Bernie, but he, too, has these fears to grapple with.
In one respect, it’s only four years, and I do acknowledge that so much in life is SO MUCH more significant than one election. On the other hand, there are ripple effects from such an election and they matter.
It is almost certainly going to be painful for a lot of us to make our decisions about voting this year. And certainly it’s scary. Maybe we can at least support each other, and give each other a little extra grace to make things easier in the mean times.
If anyone has suggestions, thoughts, prayer requests, or prayers to offer, please do leave a note.
We ARE all in this together. Even if we are on polar opposite sides. Because we all live with the outcomes.