The big day is approaching
Oct. 22, 2012
by Ivan Raconteur

The big day is approaching quickly – the day when hordes of freaks, zombies, werewolves, and vampires will begin terrorizing the countryside.

I am not referring to Oct. 31 – I am referring to Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Begging the pardon of all the men and women who have stepped up and filed for office – they aren’t all freaks or zombies – Election Day can be frightening for a lot of reasons, but we must not be afraid to go out and vote.

We have become, in many ways, a passive society. We are accustomed to sitting back and watching other people do things, such as competing in sports, providing music and entertainment, and taking on challenges in our communities.

Election Day doesn’t work like that. It is a day when all of us must be actively involved, not just passive observers.

We might be discouraged by the process or sick of the rhetoric. We may not like the choices we have in the candidates. We might think our vote doesn’t count or the results don’t matter, because nothing will change, no matter who is elected.

But, regardless of what we think, Election Day is a day for action, not excuses.

We are lucky to live in a country where we have the opportunity to participate in the process and help to decide who will lead us in the years ahead. Many people in the world are not so fortunate.

One vote does matter. There are many close races on the ballot this year, and they will be decided by a relatively small number of votes. Voter turnout will influence the outcome, and each vote will matter.

Even if we look at Election Day in the most cynical light, we must still participate. We can look at casting a ballot as buying a ticket to bitch for the next two, four, or six years, depending on the office. On the other hand, if we fail to vote, we have no right to complain about the outcome of the election.

Voting is a precious right, but it is also the responsibility of all citizens, and one that we should not take lightly.

I encourage all citizens, no matter what they believe, or what party or candidate they support, to get out and vote Nov. 6.

We, as a nation, have spent a lot of time, energy, and resources trying to convince the rest of the world that our system of government is the best one. We should at least demonstrate that we care enough about it to participate in this system ourselves, and we can do this by voting on Election Day.

I hope everyone who is eligible, no matter what they believe, will cast a ballot, but I hope for more than that.

When the dust settles after the polls close Nov. 6, there will be winners and losers. That’s just the way it is. In spite of that, I hope all citizens, whether or not their candidates prevailed in the election, will move forward in a spirit of cooperation.

There has been much partisanship in the period leading up to this election. There are times when I am afraid we are losing our ability to have a civilized and respectful conversation about important issues, not just among elected officials, but among residents in our communities.

It seems that more and more often, those with opposing views dig in and defend a position, rather than working together to find common ground. Worse yet, when an impasse is reached, some people quickly resort to attacks and abuse, which drives the participants further apart.

There will be times when we disagree, and that is the way it should be. But, it will be our ability to compromise and work together to find creative solutions for our problems that will give us the best hope for the future.

We should all be willing to support the best ideas, not simply the loudest voice.

It is funny – curious funny, not “ha ha” funny – that this seems to be so difficult to understand today. I thought we all learned when we were children that we don’t always get our own way. I thought we learned that when we are part of a group, whether it is a group of kids on a playground, or a group of citizens in a country, sometimes we have to go along with what the majority of the group wants.

Some people, however, don’t seem to have learned these lessons.

If things don’t go their way, they either sulk and try to disrupt the rest of the group, or take their ball and go home.

No matter which candidates prevail in November, we will need to decide what kind of country, state, and community we want to live in. Do we want to live in a climate of mutual respect, or of vindictiveness?

We have a responsibility to vote on Election Day, but our work does not end there. Even after the election, we will have a choice. We will need to decide if we are going to be part of the problem, or part of the solution.

There may be some scary names on the ballot Nov. 6, but if we don’t get out and vote, and if we don’t start working together to address the issues that confront us all, the future could be even more frightening.

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