As I lounge on my couch on this cold winter day with my sweet son using my round pregnant belly as a pillow and dog at our feet, my mind wanders while I watch the mesmerizing fire of the Fireplace for Your Home : Birchwood Edition. (As if there is anything else to cuddle to on a winter afternoon.) I voted this week… on my birthday. It wasn’t fun.
Wrestling my head strong, soon-to-be 2 year old child into a car seat for a task that is really non crucial to our daily operations is exhausting. I finally snapped the last snap, threw his car blanket over his legs, and heaved my ever-growing-larger pregnant self in the drivers seat. I flipped down the mirror to behold my sweating, red-faced, frazzled self and decided I didn’t even care to try to fix my ponytail back from Henry’s frantic, “Please let’s not go in the carseat” 2-year-old death grip.
I hate politics. I always have. I hate the debate. I hate the unwillingness to look beyond the circus and front facade of candidates, parties, and issues. I hate the ugliness of smear campaigns. I can’t stand that these things pit neighbors against each other with political sign wars. And to be honest, the litigations and laws are enough to bore anyone into a apathetic lull. Real issues that affect us every day as citizens are blurred out by the religious points and fight points: abortion, gun laws, immigration stances, and recreation substances. Not that those issues are not important issues, but they are smoke bombs in the political arena. The chances of Roe vs Wade being altered is slim. The NRA has too much money and resources to be taken down and the collection of every firearm in this country would take decades. Unless you are 100% Native American, we are all the product of immigrants and barring taking the constitution completely apart we will always have room at Lady Liberty’s feet for those that want a better life. And science and money will take recreational substances in the way of tobacco and alcohol eventually- let’s just peek back at how prohibition went for us and we can see that.
And so we fight and other smaller things happen- and they happen right under our noses. We don’t pay attention to the small stuff when the smoke bombs are deployed. It works. And the little things that pass and don’t pass build up until it affects our every day, but then it’s too late. We pay attention to the smoke bombs : they are complicated and fire emotions in everyone immediately. I even cringe a little writing this.
Politics has been ingrained in me as an us versus them fight. I know my team. I know what my team stands for and I vote for my team. It doesn’t really matter who is on the team because we want the same things: a God-fearing, safe place to live. It was taught that this is a religious fight in the community I grew up in: conservative Christian Republicans versus pagan Liberal Democrats. This was my voting style until my precious son entered the world. Then I began voting with my son in mind.
Now I vote for my boys’ sake. I exercise my vote to fight for a country that is worth having. I vote for the country I want for my boys. I will no longer vote straight party. I want to know the candidates no matter what kind of party they claim. Claiming a certain party is not enough for me to decide on a candidate anymore.
I want to know their moral fiber and past behaviors. Why? Past behavior is the best way to predict future behavior. I don’t want to look at just their words but their actions too.
I want to know their agenda. Why? I want to know which way they will lean on the important votes. I need to know their driving stance on the areas and issues that will most affect my boys: healthcare, disability rights, and education.
I want to know who is funding them. Why? If they are primarily funded by one specific cause or person they will be more likely to put those moneybags first instead of the public.
I feel that our country has been backed against a cliff on a ledge. We can grit our teeth and fight to gain a higher, more stable ground together. Or we can balance on the crowded edge unwilling to move or work together despite the threat of tumbling unwilling into the abyss and carnage of a ragged fall.
I will fight. I will listen. I will pay attention. I will remain open to all options. I will not stand still. I will not try to go back. Forward is the only way. We can only get there safely together. So I will vote for those I believe will also fight for higher ground. Those who won’t take a position of power and prey on those in weakened positions. Those of sound moral fiber and good judgement proven by their actions. Those I would be okay with having on my team: someone to fight along side me for my children. For instance, could I work with them or would I have to recite my calming mantra and pray for restraint to not throat punch them? Those who would not push us off the ledge because we are inconvenient, but help us up too. I look around and I am concerned for the future.
I want my two innocent loves napping together – one on top of my belly and one within it – to have the world and every opportunity in it. I want them to be safe. I want them to be well. I want them to be able to live their lives freely. And so I voted on my birthday. Again, it was not fun.