For or Against and Feedback Followup

Election Day is here. Many have already cast their vote. I have not. Yesterday’s writing outlined the issues that are important to me, and likely many others, yet it acknowledged an attitude of apathy that I have developed due to frustration with career politicians, manipulation of said politicians by corporations and special interests, and the feeling that the political system has become a contest to see who can be hated the least instead of supported the most.

I added a link to my blogpost as my Facebook status yesterday along with a cocky, smart aleck comment about potentially not voting and what’s the point. Interestingly enough NO ONE had anything to say about the issues I mentioned, but I apparently struck a nerve with some by suggesting it might be pointless to vote.

It seems suggesting that one might choose not to vote ranks right up there with suggesting there isn’t really a fiery place called Hell.

The comments I received ranged from determination to vote against Rick Perry and his ridiculous monthly rent house payment being paid by the taxpayers of Texas to a plea to vote because our troops are fighting to protect our voting rights to how fortunate we are that we do have the right to disagree with elected officials or even choose not to vote.

The comment that I found most compelling, however, came from a long-time friend and former co-worker whom my oldest daughter had the privilege of having for a teacher. She said:

The reason I have voted (early) is to show that my small voice and meager pocketbook can still affect change. I am more concerned about the long term effect if our daughter sees that we are too eager or impatient to give up on our democracy. Though I am certain that tomorrow’s election results will be a sober reminder that “money” and “fear” will often win over the eligible voters who do exercise their right, I feel it is important to snub my nose in the face of corporate interests who are hoping that I will stay home and not vote. They are actually counting on the negativity and disgust factor to keep me away. I take pride in being one of their worst nightmares…a voter who tries to be as informed as possible, reasonable and one of “those” people who put signs in their yard.

I have to admit, she did an excellent job of answering my question, “What’s the point?”

The Facebook discussion raised another significant question for me.

Is it ethical to vote for a candidate simply to send a message that one is voting against another candidate? In other words, should the entire student body throw its support behind Cheerleader B simply because we don’t want Cheerleader A to win? If Cheerleader B is a good cheerleader and is likeable, then we will likely be voting FOR Cheerleader B anyway. But what if Cheerleader B is nothing more special than someone who is NOT Cheerleader A. Is it still ethical to vote for Cheerleader B solely to send a message to Cheerleader A that the student body doesn’t want her representing them? ….solely because we have a moral obligation to exercise our right to vote?

Law of Attraction gurus tend towards the philosophy that being against something or someone tends to give energy to the very thing/person we oppose. They suggest a healthier approach is to find something/someone we can champion and put our energy towards positive support.

With that in mind, I took to the internet this morning looking for reasons to support one of the candidates for governor of Texas. Already harboring a few negative opinions of my own regarding current Governor Goodhair, and armed with the comment of a close friend who indicated Bill White is a great guy, I began searching for reasons to support Bill White other than simply being against Rick Perry.

“Ask and it will be given, seek and you will find.”

I googled “why should I vote for Bill White” and was led right to his campaign page.

I compared his issues to the issues I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post.

I found several areas where I felt we might share some common ground, one of the most significant for me being his inclusive attitude toward marginalized people in Texas including GLBT groups. There was a video featuring Indo-Americans which was very positive. I was impressed that something had been produced which contained virtually no digs, slams, or complaints against the competition, but rather was totally focused on the positive characteristics of Bill White. It portrayed him as a man who is both accessible to the people and compassionate.

On the issue of border control, he used the right language to get my attention. He focused on the need to protect the US from threats to our safety while not “…disrupting lawful daily commerce and travel.” There was no mention of the need to stop illegal immigration that I found. That’s not the real issue. Safety is the issue. Deal with the problem. Penalize only those who need to be penalized.

On the issue of health care, there is evidence that he has at least attempted to improve access to affordable insurance and suggestions that he will continue to pursue efforts on that issue.

In an ironic twist of typical party-line positions, Bill White indicates he supports the rights of land owners and sees the use of eminent domain as a last resort. His focus on re-directing and re-organizing TxDOT is appealing to me as a taxpayer.

His position on energy includes strategies to not only move to more sustainable energy sources, but also improve energy efficiency in order to reduce consumption. That is significant in my book. He also mentions protecting the environment and natural resources. I’m not convinced about this in that he mentions reducing emissions, yet nothing addresses the environmental impact of massive wind farms.

As for education, I have long felt that career and technical education was being short-changed. I am glad to see a specific statement regarding support for career and technical education. It gives our kids an option for leading financially successful lives without incurring the massive debt that tends to accompany a traditional college education.

So why am I just now pursuing this information?

Mostly because I avoid television and the negative crap that accompanies any political discussion to be found on TV. The only thing I do see is the occasional negative ad that makes its way onto whatever satellite channel I am watching as I drift off to sleep or in the midst of the local news.

I am glad to know there is a viable choice that can give Texans a reason to believe in something better than what has been instead of simply a referendum against status quo. I am also grateful for friends who choose to respond to my frustrations not with defensiveness, but with real reasons to keep believing that the system works.

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