Not just to get one of those nifty stickers, by Deb Katie

votebuttonWhat 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.

~ Deb Katie Alender

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9 Replies to “Not just to get one of those nifty stickers, by Deb Katie”

  1. I’m feeling a little jealous of people in those swing states, but I’m still going to go out there and vote today! I just want to give everyone a chance to vote who has to get to work today, and then I’ll sneak in at mid-day. I’m looking forward to this election being over!

  2. I’m applauding this, Katie! I think people are starting to care again, and that’s terrific. I was so burned up this morning by people whining in the lines at the polling place at 7 a.m. and griping at the little old ladies running things. There was a huge line when the doors opened at 7 a.m. and when I left at 7:35 there was hardly any line at all. Things were clicking along well and STILL people found stuff to bitch about. You know what? Celebrate the fact that it will only take you 30 minutes and not cost you your life or your property to express yourself.

    Also, I really hope this caring spills over into local elections. One thing I learned during my days as a small town political reporter is that those elections matter critically to one’s everyday life, and in those elections, one vote can truly make the difference. Keep voting, America!

  3. Remember this people, when you vote, that gives you the right to bitch and complain as much as you want about the government, policies, etc. But if you refuse to vote, you then forfeit the right to open your mouth and complain about any political point!

    I know realistically that my vote probably doesn’t mean much up hear in the Great White North – seeing as only about 45% of the population turns out to vote – but I like to flap my gums quite a bit, and therefore vote, so I can whine about the government as much as I want. 🙂

  4. Meredith, me too! My parents are in a swing state, and I think that would make things a lot more exciting. But I am struck by the urgency people feel to vote, no matter where they live or whom they’re voting for. A work colleague of mine arranged the return trip of his business travel specifically so he’d have time to get back and vote.

    Kristina, thank you. We arrived at our polling place 15 minutes before it opened and were out the door 25 minutes later. And I hadn’t thought much about local elections–but I’ll be paying more attention now.

    Danielle, thanks. I think the whole world must be on pins and needles today!

    Jason, flap those gums all you want! You’re absolutely right. Participating gives you a leg to stand on.

    Christy, I know the feeling you mean. It was actually kind of exhilarating to think that people are rearranging their schedules and showing up late to work and getting out the door an hour early, all to have their say. It actually makes voting feel like a privilege–something worth working for.

  5. Living in a swing state is both exciting and somewhat fraught with even greater responsibility. More people do finally care, Katie, but the real test begins tomorrow when we must continue to care and hold our new leader(s) accountable.

    And Winston would get my vote any day!

  6. Excellent point, Larramie. It will be interesting to see how everything plays out. I hope that whatever the results may be, they inspire people to continue to look around and be active in their communities.

    Winston appreciates your vote! If he were running, he’d be out shaking paws and licking babies.

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