What are you doing surfing the internet? Go vote! Get on now, go! (Apologies to our international readers, many of whom, I’m sure, are wishing they could get out there and cast a vote today.)
I’m not what you’d call “passionate” about politics. I seem to see a lot of gray areas where people around me see in black and white. I put a lot of stock in checks and balances. I wish there were more than two prominent political parties. And though I haven’t missed voting in a presidential election since I was out of college, I’m not exactly handing out fliers on a busy street-corner.
Let me be honest. Just like every starfish wants to be the one tossed back into the ocean, I know every voter wants to feel that his/her ballot matters. But I’m going to stick my neck out and say that for a lot of years, I haven’t feel that way.
And I don’t think I’m alone. If I had to guess, I’d say a lot of us are feeling fairly disconnected. The economy is shaky; the war is unpopular; the country is messily divided into red states and blue states (as if we didn’t have enough to divide us! Thanks, cable news). Life in general is a little discombobulated right now. So, you know, whoop-de-do, another election. Maybe we know which candidate we prefer, but we aren’t sure that taking time (and a lot of time, from the looks of things) from our already busy schedules is actually worth it. Maybe we figure it’s a done deal, or a lost cause, or are just willing to let the chips fall.
But the truth is that even for me and millions of other Americans who are not living in swing states and on whose individual votes this election most likely does not rest, this is actually a great opportunity to suck it up and fulfill your civic duty.
Because it’s time for us as a country, as communities, as families, as people, to dig in a little deeper. No matter what your politics are or what your living situation is, it’s time to look around and pay a little more attention to the world at large. The green living movement, the foodie uprising, the crafty revolution, the rebirth of urbanite culture, and all of the other little vibrations that are percolating under the surface are just hints at what I hope is really happening:
People are starting to care again.
Now I know most of us never stopped caring, not really. But it’s like those allergy medicine commercials where, halfway through, the screen suddenly gets clearer and you realize that you’ve been watching a foggy ad. I think a lot of people are caring more than they did, and about different things than they once cared about, and are looking for ways to translate those feelings into tangible results. It’s an active caring, rather than just a passive caring.
So I’m going to vote, and I’m going to feel like my vote counts. And I hope you’ll do the same. Because wearing that little sticker around is one more great way to say, “I care.”
And caring is important. More than just about anything else, it’s what the world needs right now.