Tomorrow we vote. I will go cast my ballot because I believe it is critical to do so. I believe that the government we are saddled with in all of its terribly partisan and fractured inefficiency is the direct result of too many people not participating in our democratic process.
I am incredibly angry that our government is so beyond broken. My vote tomorrow won’t make a difference in how the system works. I am not naive enough to believe that tomorrow changes anything–regardless of who is elected. My vote will actually just perpetuate the system as it is because no matter who emerges the victor tomorrow night, the vanquished party will see it as their call to hunker down and begin the next campaign the very next morning if not moments after the concession speech.
I am a pessimist by nature, although most times I manage to keep things under control. But when it comes to our government I see no reason for hope.
This Friday a movie about Abraham Lincoln’s final months will be released. In some of the lead-up to to release, parallels have been drawn between the chasm that existed in the United States during the Civil War and our current political climate. In some ways, I believe that we are still fighting the Civil War. There were moments when it appeared we were on our way to healing those deep wounds, but they keep popping up. Like cancer. We cut it out in one area–through legislation–and it pops up in another so we treat it with powerful drugs–like the Supreme Court. It is still there. The surgery misses a cell; the drugs aren’t the exact right formulation.
And so we continue to die.
We don’t need the high powered drugs or specialized surgery, though, to cure what ails us. What we need is to remember that it takes all of us. Those people we vilify are doing what they believe is best. If we actually take the time to talk to each other, I think we find that we will find that we’re much closer together than we are far apart. But we’re too busy being outraged at the hype and the sensation. Stuck in what is best for us as individuals rather than us as a collective whole. We dig in and build our fortifications. We set the walls and won’t entertain another view.
I don’t know what it’s going to take to change that. The results of tomorrow’s election certainly won’t. But I’ll go vote tomorrow because not voting…even my blue vote in a guaranteed red state…tells the politicians that it’s OK for them to make decisions based on the voice of a few. I’m not willing to further exacerbate that problem even if I can’t solve it.