Thursday, October 09, 2008

This is the closest to politics you're gonna get from me...

A good friend of mine came out to watch Sydney's softball game a week or so ago and the first thing he did was plop beside me and say, "So, who you voting for?" Perhaps this might sound like a normal question to get from a good friend, but this friend knows that he and I differ quite a bit on a bunch of issues. It seems to bother him to no end that I am an intelligent person and yet I wouldn't always vote for the same person he would. It's as if he takes some sort of perverse pleasure in goading me on, or that he really does want to know my opinion because he is so baffled by it.

I, stupidly, took his bait and actually tried to talk reasonably to him about a couple of issues. I'm actually torn by a number of them and tried to explain to him the different sides to different issues and different candidates. He is so single-minded that it was hard, I think, for him to see why someone might actually see the good and bad on both sides.

After a little while, I had to tell him it was time to stop. He's a friend and I don't really like getting frustrated with him. As we finished our conversation, Gary walked over and sensed what we were talking about. He just laughed and shook his head and said, "I don't know why you guys even go there." Our friend then said, "What I don't get is how you and Cheryl can stay married. If [his wife] and I disagreed on politics, I don't think I could be married to her."

Gary and I, you see, disagree on a number of issues and we have "cancelled" each other's votes out more than once. We've also voted for the same candidates several times, and I think we've learned to appreciate each other's differences. Gary knows where I come from; I know where he comes from. We appreciate each other's intelligence and we respect each other. (We just know when enough is enough and when to stop talking to each other. LOL)

Later in the evening, Gary and I were talking about it and I think he nailed it on the head. If we had different religious beliefs, that would be a problem. There are differences big enough to cause problems in a relationship--things that are essential to who we are. Politics is not one of those things. "In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter," he said. ("Besides," Gary added, "that's why we have a secret vote. You don't have to tell anyone who you're voting for if you don't want to.")

And this, my friends, is where I think we have a problem in our country right now.

We are so divided that we can't stop and realize that pretty much everyone wants what's best for our country. We just have different ways of saying it; different ways of trying to achieve it. Instead of understanding that, we have to question each other's intelligence (or lack thereof) or, worse still, our patriotism. Both candidates have weaknesses, both candidates have strong points. If they didn't have failings and weaknesses, they wouldn't be human. If they didn't have strong points, they wouldn't have made it so far in the race. (And, let's face it...politicians are politicians are politicians are politicians, no matter how you slice it.)

I get so sick of hearing one group of supporters call the other one the equivalent of the "devil" ... and then hearing the other group of supporters do the same thing. Make your decision based on how you feel about that person's platform ...don't believe everything you read or watch in the media..don't believe everything you get in some crazy email... use your brain (and not emotions) to make your decision...and then don't feel like you should go out and claim that any person who might choose to vote differently than you is an imbecile.

But if there's one thing we can all agree one it's that you should absolutely go VOTE. It's your right as an American to disagree with your spouse if you want to; it's your right as an American to think whatever you want to about a particular issue; it's your right as an American to work hard for a candidate or to remain ambivalent; but it's your obligation as an American to VOTE.

And this is where my aforementioned friend would probably also be baffled by my election day and election season behavior. No matter who I'm voting for, or who I think might win (even if it's different from who I'm voting for), I get a huge rush going to vote. I usually sorta dance into the polling place, realizing what a very cool honor it is to get to do so.

And then I watch the election returns and am fascinated by the process....that this huge process works on such a grand scale. And then I watch the winner announced and the loser conceeding, and I'm amazed at how it runs smoothly every time with no violence.

And then I watch the inauguration and listen to the speech, and I'm amazed every time no matter what person is standing there. I'm always in awe of the process and the fact that we...despite our failings....make it happen. I don't cry all day if my candidate doesn't win...I don't worry that we're "going to hell in a handbasket." If my candidate is up there on stage, it's a good feeling, but it's not one of gloating. I realize that whoever is president now has a huge job ahead of him and that he probably would appreciate my good thoughts and prayers more than anything.

I'm just amazed by how it all works out. And I sorta wish that more people in this country could feel the same way about it.

So there...
that's as close to politics as you're gonna get from me. (So don't ask me again. And if you disagree...tough!...it's not like we live in a free country or anything! LOL)

22 comments:

hippo chick said...

Hi Cheryl,

I probably should read your post through again before I respond, but here goes!!!YOU GO GIRL!!! If we could all use our heads and think about what is best for our country and not "OUR" party, this country and world would be a better place.

I probably should be a registered Independant (like my girls) but I want to vote in the local primaries so I am registered with a party.

I am truly, truly a conservative when it comes to government.

I would like to have a strong feeling about who I'm going to vote for this year, but the truth is, "I don't know". I see strengths and weaknesses on both sides. In fact, I see some great weaknesses on both sides and I wish I didn't.

If everyone, especially Congress, could just vote for what is best for our country, regardless of what side of the aisle you sit on, wouldn't we all be better off?

Okay, that's enough of MY soapbox. In essence, what I'm saying is, "I agree with you, once again."

~non-partisan hippo hugs~
Pam

Greg C said...

So who are you voting for? Just kidding. I agree totally. My wife and I often differ on our political choices but that is just a little thing and not worth getting upset about. Now if I tell her I am not going to vote, that will start a fight. I am going to vote though for all the reasons you mentioned.

I am having a little trouble this year keeping my mouth shut about my choice when I am talking with other people. There are lots of people out there who are believing rumors and basing their decission on them. I usually have to speak up then.

First time visitor, I just hopped over here from the M Queens blog.

Ms.L said...

here here!
This is exactly how I feel.
We have an election coming up soon too and I'm finding it fun/amusing to watch all the goings on. I like that it gets people talking but what I really hope is that it gets people thinking,researching,
learning and VOTING! YAY

Cheryl Wray said...

Pam--You're so sweet! I was so afraid that I would step on some toes, but you know? Gotta keep it real! I also would register as an Independent if I could, but I do like to vote in the primaries. I don't know, though...I may check that possibility out.

Greg--Hey! So good to welcome a "first time visitor." :-)I worry about people who blindly believe whatever they read or see. It seems to me that there have been lots of nasty rumors about both candidates this time. Not good.

Ms. L--That's all we can do. Make an educated decision, right? :-)

Heather said...

Amazingly well said, and I totally agree!

My DH has decided that the whole election thing sucks and that he doesn't agree with either of them and so he won't go vote.

I told him it's his obligation as an American to go vote for whoever sucks the least. LOL

Auburn Kat said...

I have to say that I am extremely sick of politics. I just with the election would get here! Don't get me wrong, I am thankful that we can vote, I'm just sick of the media!!!

Anonymous said...

I will be glad to vote, because it means the race will be over. Elect somebody already!

Marg

Adrienne said...

DITTO!

Cheryl Wray said...

Heather--I love your suggestion for him. I try and stay positive (because I'm sorta that way!) and see the good in the candidates. But sometimes you do feel like you're voting for what sucks the least. You're too funny!

Kat--I totally know what you mean!

Marg--I think that everyone is starting to get sick of it all.

Adrienne-- :-) (Well said!)

Lynilu said...

I'm intense about this election, but I try to avoid discussions which make either person angry. It's OK with me if someone is as intense for the other side as I am for mine, and as long as we can still talk about it without anger or raised voices, I think that is good. I might learn something and so might the other person. But arguing and getting nasty is the end of it for me.

Good post!

BTW, I copied your previous post on my blog. It was interesting!

Becky Welch said...

I gave you an award - check out my blog for all the details!

Phats said...

So, who you voting for? hahaha JK!!!

That is one topic that is never brought up at big family functions because we are split down the middle and it can get nasty. Luckily Kristen and I have are the same party, although it wouldn't change my feelings for her if we weren't like you and Gary we'd cancel each other out

Yvonne said...

You nailed it Cheryl!! I don't talk politics or religion with those that I know differ because really, why hassle. I love to vote but I hate to talk politics. I love God but I hate to talk religion.

Your words are great! Thanks for sharing

Susie Q said...

Bless you sweet Cheryl. You make me proud just to say I know ya!
You said it better than I did but we are of the same mind here.
I will tell you something I would not blog about...I attended a McCain rally some weeks ago...I just went as it fit into my schedule and I wanted to listen and ask questions of those around me. I never even mentioned it to anyone but Bill. Today I attended The Obama rally in downtown Dayton. Bill took his lunch break early so he could get my nephew at his school (something I do everyday) so I could go. Without thinking about it, Bill told my brother and Mom where I had gone. My brother won't talk to me tonight and my Mom is barely civil. My brother's reaction I would have ex[ected but not Mom's. Even when I told them I had gone to the McCain rally too they remained upset.
What will this nation come to if people in families can't even agree to disagree? Thankfully, those friends who disagree with me on some issues, are loving about it.
Bill and I seem to be of like minds this year but we have often disagreed. Wouldn't it be awful to have a marriage (like your friend's) where you feel afraid to voice a difference of opinion or risk losing that person? *sigh*

Well, I did not mean to write a book here...: ) Thank youf ro posting this. Please give your darlin' girls and that handsome husband a hug from me, then ask him to give you one from me as well.

Love,
Sue

Kelly said...

GOOD JOB! I vote for you!

Lynilu said...

Cheryl, I left a reply for you on my blog!!

kathi said...

Every word mirrors myself and my opinions. I wish I could have said it as well, but I'm thrilled you were able to put my position into words.
I'm disappointed every election year in how our many in our country behave, and even more disappointed that people take voting so lightly...especially those who don't 'take' it at all. I recently had a young woman (30) tell me she's never voted. Said she didn't care, they were all the same. I asked her if she'd ever heard of what women had gone through so that women could have the right to vote and she said she didn't care, she didn't ask them to do it and they chose to do go through whatever they went through. Broke my heart. Thing is, she's an intelligent person and her opinion is probably much more common than we'd like to believe.
I'm not thrilled with either candidate, but I'll vote.

Monogram Queen said...

I agree with you 100% Cheryl, Stacy and I often agree to disagree also. I like to think it makes us better people!
I won't talk about who i'm voting for either. You live in the deep South too so you know of what I speak!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

I needed this~ I am so frustrated with all of the politics and the politicians. The press is right up there with them.
I will vote my heart and be god's voice... and then stand on faith.

It really is out of our tiny hands!

Dettao said...

And I couldn't have said it better....

Jenster said...

I agree with every single thing you said!!

crazy working mom said...

...and THAT, my friend is why I love this blog! You hit the nail right on the head with this post. You said exactly how I feel!!!