Elections are exciting. I enjoy the anticipation as we sit on the couch, watching the states turn red and blue on the big electoral college maps on t.v. I enjoy it even more when the candidates I support win :)
If what I see on social networking sites is any indicator, voter turnout is going to be great this year. I love the enthusiasm and the pride with which people post about voting. I've seen posts about women's suffrage, being thankful for democracy, and great encouragement to others to get out to vote. It's cool to vote these days. I love that.
What I don't love is how uncool it seems to be to disagree with someone else. I see a lot of disrespect of the opinions of others online. It feels to me as though for some people, it's cool to vote, as long as you're voting like them. I saw a post where someone was bragging about pulling over to shout obscenities at some people exercising their right to protest. An extremely educated friend of mine posted their shock that ANYONE would vote for the "other" candidate. (Umm, some of your friends might be voting for the other candidate. And they may resent the rather scathing remarks you have therefore just made about their intelligence.) Let's respect each other, try to understand each other, and hope that our candidates can do the same. That's how real progress can be made.
I remember being in college and screaming through the phone receiver at an infuriatingly calm Greg who disagreed with me about something on the ballot. I was young, passionate, and right, gosh darn it, and I wasn't sure I should even be dating someone who disagreed with me. I understand being passionate about something, I really do. Since then I've had more opportunities to talk in depth with people who disagree with me, not just Greg, although he's my favorite person to talk politics with, and I've discovered some things.
Most people are not evil, even if they disagree with me.
Many people who vote opposite me actually agree with me on underlying moral principles, but disagree with me on how things should be done even though they hope for a similar outcome.
Very few people agree entirely with a specific party or candidate, a lot of us have to choose what our priorities are with each election. I may agree with you on gay marriage, disagree with you on Roe v. Wade, agree with you about environmental policy, disagree with you about free enterprise, and vote with or against you depending on which of my agendas seems most at risk because of a particular candidate.
I know really good, moral, intelligent people who vote Democrat, and really good, moral, intelligent people who vote Republican.
I hope that if you're eligible to vote, you do. And I hope that you'll consider talking to someone who disagrees with you about the vote. Not in an effort to change their mind or allow them to change yours, but in an effort to understand why they're voting the way they are. You might be surprised to find that you disagree with their decision more than you disagree with their reasoning. (Or you might not be. In which case you can be even more excited to go vote against them.)
Since November is a month to be thankful, I would like to mention some things I am thankful for.
I am thankful for my right to vote, a right that's extended to people regardless of gender, race, property ownership, or sexual orientation.
I am thankful for the people who have disagreed with me in the past and been willing to explain their thinking in a non-confrontational way.
I am thankful to live in a country that spends a great deal to have provided me with public schooling, food that's been inspected for safety, non-toxic toys, public roads, and a safety net of social services that I hope not to need. I am willing to pay my share of taxes to keep enjoying these services.
I am thankful for turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes, chocolate cream pie, pumpkin pie, green bean casserole, wild rice, and stuffing. If you think stuffing shouldn't be cooked in the turkey because it's gross then YOU ARE SO WRONG. WRONG! I DON'T THINK I SHOULD EVEN BE DATING YOU. AHHH!!!! Clunk.
Happy Election Day :)