Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Go Vote

Moxie of Ask Moxie also has a personal blog. On it this morning, she wrote:

Lever

So this morning I'm going to take my two white sons who are going to grow up to be white men, and take them to the voting booth. We will (together) pull the lever for Barack Obama. And then we'll look at a photo of him, and talk about how he's the better candidate, and how the better person should be president. And how his skin is darker than ours is, and he has a foreign name (like I do, but my sons don't), and how we're lucky to live in the United States, where what you do is more important that what you look like or who your parents are.

And I know it's a lie, but maybe if I say it enough times to them, they'll help make it true some day.


Such an interesting phenomenon, the power of suggestion.

In my last job in college admissions, when there were university-wide changes on the way, the dean taught us to talk as though it had already happened. "Don't lie, of course," he'd caution us, so if, for example, the Writers House wasn't open yet but was under construction, we didn't want to describe events as having happened already. But, he would remind us, if we don't talk about people sitting in the living room, listening to famous authors read, or poetry circles thoughtfully critiquing each others' work, it would never happen. People who wanted that to happen needed to hear it to make it happen.

It's sort of like Oprah's "Secret" in a professional context. (Which is one reason I really laughed when I saw that show, because the former dean and Oprah share only a little common ground (charisma, definitely, and influence, but I'm struggling to think of any other overlap). So I'm a big believer in talking about the world as we want it to be because that is the first step to making it happen.

And I have to point you to my new separated-at-birth-or-at-least-graduation blog-friend Emily. Her post today, An Election Day Prayer, captures most of what I pray for too. We have two men who passionately love this country, both strong leaders, both deeply flawed. (And I don't even want to get in to the VP candidates.) I am comfortable with my decision and can't wait to cast my vote. But I understand the angst of those who are choosing the other candidate, their hopes, their fears, and that many of their goals for this country are the same as mine (although some are markedly different, and hence my choices).

I want voting records shattered today. I want peace at the polls. And yes, I want my guy to win, of course, just as everyone who votes today does. But I love election days here in my hometown--my first grade teacher, moms of kids I grew up with, men who've taken the collection at my church since I was a toddler plopping in change--that's who works our polls, with pictures of their grandkids and coos over my kids. They were thrilled when we moved to this side of town so they knew they'd see me twice a year at least. And I am grateful every time that I live here and can say that, and don't have to worry about ink on my fingers or danger to myself or property for going to vote. I am grateful to the women one hundred years ago who fought for me to have this right, and my parents for showing me how important it is by always voting themselves and taking me. And I hope all the new voters today grow to love it like I do.

Happy election day to all. See you on the other side.

1 comment:

Anjali said...

Great post! Happy Election Day to you too!