Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My day as a politician, Gratitude, Day 4

Remember my friend Julie? I've been talking about her a lot lately right? I have another story to tell you about her. You see, Julie introduced me to a lot of new things early in our friendship, and one of those things was politics. I guess she wasn't so much the one to introduce me to politics, but rather introduce me to her daddy, Philip, politician extraordinare.

Philip loves politics. He gets very involved in local politics. Every time an election rolls around it's like Christmas for him, and he often got his family involved. This is where Julie comes into the story, because he drug her along for the ride and she drug me for company.

One year, maybe a year after we met, there was a local election and Philip recruited us to help. A candidate that Philip was volunteering for needed someone to go campaign for him at one of the polls. Always eager for an adventure Julie and I agreed to go.

It wasn't as much of an adventure as we had hoped. As a matter of fact, it was downright boring. Probably because we were young and didn't fully get the election experience. Hell, I wasn't even old enough to vote yet. Julie was, and she did, then we proceeded to stand on the sidewalk and politic for our candidate. It was torture. Have you ever done this? Do you know how people look at you when you do this? Like you have the plague, and they tend to give you a wide berth when they walk past you.

We were not going to be ignored though. Oh no. It became clear, after a while, that people pretty much had their minds made up and we weren't going to be able to make a whole lot of difference in their selection that day. Particularly because they didn't want to have anything to do with us or anyone else campaigning for that matter.

So this is what we did. We put on our buttons, sat down on the sidewalk, and propped ourselves up against each other's backs, like Forrest and Bubba. I faced the parking lot and Julie faced the building. We were the election day welcoming committee. I greeted voters as they came, "Hello, how are you doing today?" Julie bid them farewell after they had completed their civic duty, "Thank you for voting, have a nice day!" And so we sat, all day long. We did break for lunch, but otherwise we did what we felt was necessary for our candidate and our self preservation.

The other people there campaigning were clearly put out with us. How could we just give up like that? It was pretty clear, that if they had the number to our candidate they would promptly call him up and let him know that he had a couple of rogue campaigners on his hands. But there wasn't a damn thing they could do about it and the voters spoke to us and acknowledged our existence. They saw our buttons and our smiles and that is more than I can say for the other people out there on the sidewalk that day.

And guess what else? Our candidate won that day. He won that election and in particular he won that district. I don't know if our lackadaisical approach to campaigning helped, but I like to think it did. We decided after that to hang up our political suspenders and contribute in other ways to encouraging voters. Campaigning at the polls (being ignored) just wasn't for us.

So here we are, many years later, on another election day. A very important election day. If you haven't already voted, make sure you do. I did, earlier this morning, and I didn't get a sticker. I'm still a little miffed about that. Maybe I'll make one of my own.

If you aren't voting then shame on you, and don't you dare utter one complaint about how the country is being run over the next four years. If you give up your right to vote, you give up your right to complain.

I think it's pretty obvious what I'm grateful for today. My right to vote means a lot to me, and it should to you too. A lot of people fought very hard to allow us this right. First with the American Revolution and then (if you're a woman like me) with the women's suffrage movement. Read a little bit about it, educate yourself.

And if you are a woman, and you don't vote, you definitely need to read about it. Then you need to go rent "Iron Jawed Angels" and watch it. You'll never not vote again.