Yesterday was a big day for our town, as President Barack Oboyfriend made a campaign stop here. This was his third official visit to our town in four years (2008 and 2010), not to mention at least one or two unofficial visits with his family at one of our two local World Heritage sites.
Because our town is so geographically small, anything major, such as the arrival of the President of the United States, affects nearly everyone. Roads were closed and because of this, students were let out of school early so that buses could travel more or less unimpeded. That right there pretty much guaranteed several thousand future voters will puffyheart the 44th President for life, including my daughters.
Normally, for something like this, I too would retreat into the comforts of Jenworld and not attempt to venture out. As it happens, I did not.
Three tickets, in my hands.
The girls got home a little after 12:30 and we walked downtown. The line to get in was more than a half mile long, but it moved quickly and we were in it for only a little more than 30 minutes. Going through security took only a few minutes too. By 2:15, we were settled on a spot at the back of the amphitheater where the President would be speaking at 3:30. There was music playing and then the speaking started.
First we heard from some other people, including former U.S. Congressman Tom Perriello and former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, who is now running for U.S. Senate. Both men were positive and uplifting. They reminded us why this country is great, rather than spreading doom and gloom. My heart sang a little and I felt proud to be an American and delighted to live in a democracy.
And then we heard from the man himself.
The cheers when he arrived were deafening. This was my first campaign rally and I had no clue just how thrilled and excited I would be. My girls were almost hopping up and down in excitement. That’s OUR President, THE President of the United States, speaking to us, they exclaimed. If only we all could just forget politics and remember that we’re all part of the same team for a moment.
The President is a gifted and inspiring orator. If you want to read a transcript of his remarks, click here.
Here’s the thing: I know how I am going to vote in November. Chances are, you do too. I wonder if there’s anyone out there who’s actually on the fence about how they’re going to vote. If so, I hope those people will learn the issues, ponder things in their hearts, and then get out and vote, rather than staying home and doing nothing. I’m not pushing one side or the other; I am reminding you all that casting your vote is part of being a citizen of a democratic nation.
The problem is, I am sick to death of this presidential election and we still have 68 days to go. I’m guessing that many of you are beyond tired of it all too. Both sides have been campaigning non-stop for 4 years. Some politicos are already thinking ahead to 2016. That unrelenting politicking burns out the average citizen who just really wants both sides to stop thinking about elections and just do their damn jobs already. You know, their jobs, which we voted for them to do, which is to run this country in the best interests of all its inhabitants and not just in the best interests of those who hold office.
Unfortunately, as much as I’d like to hide under a rock and pretend there’s nothing going on, the fact is, there’s a lot we all need to pay attention to. Basic human rights are being trampled daily and people are getting hurt. I wish that all politicians, regardless of ideology, would just work together as a team to improve things in this country. Forget about taking sides, how about we all just remember that we’re Team USA.
…one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
To paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr., I have a dream. My dream is not just for America, but for the world at large. Here’s what I wish for:
- A world in which everyone has enough food to eat, a bed of their own to sleep in at night, and enough clean water for drinking and bathing.
- A world where people don’t hurt each other, either with their hands, weapons, or the words coming out of their mouths.
- A world where everyone can get the healthcare they need and not die from a lack of it or go bankrupt because they cannot afford it.
- A world where children are safe.
- A world where women are safe.
- A world where it does not matter who you love and a world in which any adult who wants to get married may do so.
- A world where it does not matter which deity you worship or if you don’t worship one at all.
- A world where Kardashians, New Jersey guidos, and the like are not famous for simply existing. In other words, a world where people are valued and admired for actual merits, such as amazing intellectual prowess, superior athletic performance, and selfless community service.
Is that really so much to ask for?
Apparently so, according to some people.
So yesterday I took my girls to see the President of the United States and hear him speak. They are future voters and I want them to be informed. I want them to understand how the electoral process works and what it means to be an informed citizen. I want them to remember the time they got to see one of the most powerful men in the world in the flesh and hear the inspirational words coming out of his mouth.
And one day — and that day is not too many years in the future, oh my heavens, I feel faint — my girls will be able to vote in their first presidential elections. Grace in 2016, while Ellie will have to wait until 2020. By then, they will have been with me into the voting booth many times and they’ll understand that voting is part of one’s civic duty.
More than 90% of the readers of this blog live in the U.S. If you are not a registered voter, I encourage you to become one. And then on November 6, I hope you will vote.
I’m not suggesting that you vote one way or the other; I’m asking you to exercise your rights as citizens of this country and cast your vote.
Participate in democracy.
Pack the voting booths.
Take a stand.
And, peace to all, regardless.