Archive - Jul 20, 2012
(Another political blog post cross posted to the Bethwood Patch. There is an article in the Stamford Advocate that I wanted to include, but it will have to wait for a different post. Also, I really need to get some posts on other topics up soon. Orient Lodge is drifting into mostly just politics right now)
Yesterday, a friend posted a link to the trailer for 'The Hobbit' and it got me thinking about the great electoral adventure. You see, I like to think about stories, and the events of our daily lives in the context of great stories. Currently, I've been thinking about my campaign in a similar way.
In the trailer to The Hobbit, adventure comes looking for Bilbo Baggins, not the other way around. It seems like that is how adventure comes to many of our lives. Yes, I knew about the great electoral adventure, but I wasn't looking for it to be my adventure. When no one was stepping up to run against the incumbent in my district, I kept asking, who can we get to run against her. I was not looking for the answer I received, and it was with some reluctance that I took up the adventure of running for office.
The democratic adventure in the United States is not as action packed as the adventure in other countries. I've read about protesters being killed in the battle for democracy in other countries and am currently watching with horror as the battles unfold in Syria. I don't anticipate such threats. The biggest threat I expect is someone who disagrees with me calling me names after I speak up at some meeting.
I have always thought of our right to democracy as something of great importance, not to be taken lightly. I remember back in 1986 going to vote. I had grown up in a small town that used paper ballots. My new wife at that time, had never voted. The machine worked properly for me, but when my wife tried to vote, it wouldn't work. The poll worker said that she had lost her vote, and I waxed polemic. It was at the time of the fall of President Marcos in the Philippines. I spoke loudly to the poll workers about how they could not disenfranchise my wife like that. I pointed out that people in the Philippines were literally dying for the right to vote. My wife was mortified. She just wanted to slip out unnoticed. A police officer came over. The election moderator came over. We explained what had happened and the moderator discovered that the poll worker had forgotten to press a button necessary to allow my wife to vote.
My wife thought that my passionate defense of democracy was a bit over the top, as she later came to feel about other aspects of me, which is why she is now my ex-wife.
Recently, I also saw a cartoon of a student in school slumped over his desk. A teacher is standing next to him saying, "Yes, Tommy, it is your right not to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance, but let me introduce to you someone who can't stand because he defended that right". Next to the teacher is a Veteran in a wheelchair.
I think this applies to those exercising their right not to be informed about electoral politics and their right not to vote. Call me a bit over the top, but I believe that with our rights come important responsibilities. No, I didn't really want to run for State Representative. No, I didn't really want to serve on jury duty. No, I don't really like to pay taxes. Yes, I'd like to be able to act foolish and irresponsible at times. Yet with our freedoms, our rights, our liberties that we hold so dear, we have responsibilities to our country, and these include being informed, voting, being willing to serve as a candidate, elected official, or even just a juror, and paying taxes.
I don't know where this great electoral adventure will take me next, but having taken the first few steps on the electoral path, I intend to follow it to the best of my abilities, living up to my rights and responsibilities as an American citizen.