Election Day Assumptions 2013
Today is Election Day and in my state, it is a huge deal as our Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General seats are up this time. Virginia does not allow consecutive terms for these positions, so every four years we go through the political campaign rigmarole. We go back and forth between parties for governor every four to eight years depending on national politics and the races for our General Assembly.
Now, I make no bones about the fact that I am a bleeding-heart liberal in a very conservative area. Though Virginia is mostly considered a “purple” state when it comes to national elections, we are still overall very conservative based on voting records the last several years (certain parts of the state, especially just outside of Washington, DC, is what shifts our red vs. blue designation because of population density)
We all know that with the “facts” thrown out by political ads, assumptions are par for the course during this exercise in democracy. Here are a few that bother me, not always just at election time, but especially now:
1. Oh, you had a child when you were a teenager. You must be pro-life! Join our protest against (Planned Parenthood, NOW, NARAL, etc.)!
Pro-life has nothing to do with the decision I made when I was nineteen to have and raise my child. I am pro-choice, and my choice was to keep my kid. Planned Parenthood even helped hook me up with resources to get the prenatal care I needed after my regular doctor decided to lecture me for my “condition”. Strangely enough, those in my life who are the strongest critics of abortion rights are the ones that wanted me to have one. Kind of like “The Cider House Rules”, the only right abortion is the one you know about that is convenient to you.
2. Oh. Well. Kid at nineteen. Nice to know you raised your kid on my tax money.
Wrong. I was fortunate, I had a full-time job already with my own benefits. Actually, I am still employed by that company seventeen years later. I never got welfare or WIC or Medicaid. But guess what? I am not against those who do…especially when it comes to raising and feeding children.
3. Don’t take my guns, Constitution-hater!
I grew up with guns in the house. Loaded all the time, even. I had to learn to shoot before I was twelve in order to spend any time at home alone.
Now, I would never condone leaving loaded weapons of any kind around the house unsecured, but I am not completely anti-gun. Where I grew up, people depended on hunting to help with their food budgets in the winter. Some people feel they need that level of protection. Fine. I am for regular renewals/testing for licensure and background checks. And, unless you are hunting Mothra, there is no need for certain weapons to be available to anyone at anytime they feel.
4. All liberals think Obama-haters are racist.
Nope. Only if you say something that is racist will I actually call you a racist. Same thing for slams against ethnicity, color, religion, sexual orientation or appearance. And, this will be a shock, this isn’t limited to one party/mindset! I choose my friends because they DON’T act like this, regardless of how they vote or don’t vote.
Speaking of which…
5. If you don’t vote, you don’t get a say or opinion about the government!
Says who? You? OK.
What about those who aren’t citizens but are constituents of a country/state/region? No, not illegal immigrants, but those who are here legally, work and contribute to society? They don’t get a say? And don’t tell me to just let them become citizens unless you know what that entails (hint: It isn’t as easy as you think).
Does my kid not get a say until he turns eighteen next year? How is he supposed to know how vote or what he wants to stand up for unless he gets involved now?
How about the elderly, who may have paid into the system for years, but may not be able to get out to vote? Sure, volunteers are more than willing to help this time of year but how can we be sure that is everyone?
The homeless and transient? Other than “getting a job”, maybe they have priorities and ideas that deserve to be heard? Of course, there is that whole easy to get, simple voter ID that they won’t have…
And it goes on and on. On both sides, for sure.
The examples above are things that have been said to me directly (mostly by family, but not always). I know the hate speech and assumptions go on with both sides. I have lost friends who were political allies because of the behavior that was used to “defend our party”. On the other hand, I have great friends who are political opposites of me because we have a mutual respect and appreciate that we can agree to disagree in a civil manner.
So, if you are in an area where you have a reason to vote today, then go for it. If you aren’t sure what you are voting for, then maybe it isn’t the right thing for you to do this time around. Not the democratic ideal our founding fathers had, but who am I to judge? If your informed decision is not to vote on something you are uninformed on, then that’s still a decision.
For the rest of y’all, happy Tuesday!