Democracy: A Beautiful Thing

     At 700 am this morning I participated in one of the really arcane processes still existing, and felt that old special shiver down my spine. Standing in a line of a hundred, waiting for some octogenarian to find my name visually on a printed scroll of names, handed a piece of paper in which I entered a cardboard stand, took a pen and filled in the little circle in front of the representative of my choice, and put it in a ballot box- well, I’ll tell you, it doesn’t get any better than that. Thousands of people like me joined philosophical hands today in that all too underrated process of committing an act of democracy. It doesn’t matter so much about the choices, really, though this year the opponents stood in especially stark contrast. It is more the individual act of leaving your mark and determining ,in a very specific step, the direction of the country for the next two years.

     One wonders if the Greeks of Athens, inventing Demokratia in the 5th century BC felt the same tingle. It took more than an ID card even then, with only a small portion of the populous able to register as citizens and initiate the act of democracy, literally “rule by the governed”. Did they feel the same pride of ownership of their vote, their capacity to effect change in their leaders and in the leaders’ philosophies? I suspect so. We are very jaded in modern society in our “inability ” to influence events, but this is really a facade covering our laziness and lack of organizational discipline. A “tea party” this year formed out of thin air, and in the space of one year has managed to stop a political movement in its tracks and potentially assist in the birth of another, proving for all to see, that changing political directions, like losing weight, is simply a matter of enthusiasm and sustained discipline.

     Not matter how the election of 2010 turns out, I will be greatful for playing a very small, but pivotal part of it, the part of participation in my country’s future. The world over, that’s a beautiful, beautiful thing…

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2 Responses to Democracy: A Beautiful Thing

  1. brs says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I don’t know why, but I get the same feeling standing in line to vote that I do when I walk up to Lambeau Field, stand in the Gateway Arch and when I watch the sun rise over Lake Michigan. I just get giddy and know that I am some place special, even if it is an underlit, 50 year old gymnasium at an elementary school.

    I would concur that far too many people underrate the experience. A very large portion of the spine tingle for me is related to the sacrifices made to allow my countrymen and I to stroll into that 85 cent voting booth and be heard. I am still astounded that some people believe their one vote is irrelevant, even though the last two national elections have been evidence to the contrary.

  2. Dan says:

    Voting is a privilege and an honor. As such, I spend a great deal of time studying the issues of the day, and the candidates who potentially can vote on them. I can recite the facts, figures, and cause & effect potentials of most of these topics. My point though, is that too many “voters” know little to nothing about the issues, the candidates, and haven’t a linear thought of the repercussions of a yeah or nay vote. So, it is very frustrating to see that my vote counts the same and the dolt that pulls the lever based on hair style or linguistic skills. It use to be one had to read in order to vote. I say, one should know one issue upon which the candidate stands on, or your vote would end up in purgatory. What say you?
    At any rate, a two – term limit on any politician would suit me just fine. It would eliminate the professional politician who needs to earn a living, as opposed to the civil servant who feels the need simply to serve his country with no strings attached. You would see a precipitous drop in special interest monies, and ear-marked bills, and cronyism.
    Looking forward to the next two years in state and federal government! We had a great Tuesday nine days ago!
    Dan

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