The yard sign was prominent in many of the yards in the neighborhood we visited this past weekend – “Peter for President” it said in big, bold navy letters with a plain white background.
“Who’s “Peter?” I asked my friend.
“He’s a guy who is a university professor who crossed the state, walking and bicycling proclaiming himself as a good alternative to the Republican and Democratic nominees,” said my friend.
I have no idea who “Peter” is and haven’t bothered to google his candidacy, but I have little doubt that he is a solid alternative to the “other guys.”
A few months ago, I was so discouraged with national politics that I vowed to my sister that I wasn’t even going to vote.
“You have to vote,” my sister said, “it’s your responsibility as a citizen – sort of like paying taxes.”
Yeah, well, we found out a few months after she gave me that good reason, we found out that “Paying Your Taxes” isn’t necessarily a part of the ‘Good Citizenship’ test.
But my sister also gave me an excellent reason to vote: “It’s the one real national, federal duty you have – and your nephew is serving your country right now in the Middle East – go vote for someone, just to say you support his service.”
Ya got me there, sis. If my nephew can lug around gear including a medical kit – he’s an Army Ranger medic – trained to run towards the fire to aid wounded soldiers – the least I can do is go vote.
And while I won’t vote for “Peter” since he is not on the Missouri ballot, I will make the effort to make a serious choice between serious candidates in several races.
I realize that of the two major party candidates for President, both are remarkably deficient in many terms which we think are basically necessary to occupy the Oval Office: Honestly, integrity and decency to all people. That – amazingly – is not available this time around.
But there are a number of down-ballot races which I think offer exciting choices that, while not glamorous positions, affect our lives daily. County commissioner, state senator and local races – that, Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren told me last week, that is where Democracy begins. That, she implied, is where Democracy really works.
A week from today a new President-elect will claim a mandate, however, it will be clear to many – most? – of us that there is anything but a mandate available, regardless who wins.
Elections are imperfect – I did not say ‘rigged’ – offering few choices through such a long process and driven by personality and circumstance as often as it is by substance. Millions of Americans won’t vote next week. Many of those who do vote will be unsatisfied by the choices.
Election aside, what I am looking for is this country to utilize technology to get a broader, deeper grasp of the public’s sentiments regarding this country’s direction. Go vote next Tuesday.
Go vote in every election.
I won’t use a guilt trip of my nephew serving in a foreign country far from home. Or, maybe I will.
Hold your child’s hand while you vote and give them a civics lesson.
Hold your sample ballot in order to make sure you’ve got your list of all those constitutional amendments.
Hold your nose and vote, just to do your duty.
Just don’t hold your cell phone and take a selfie with your ballot – it’s against the law, they tell me.