Linda Boyne: There’s an election? Really? In Eagle County?
Vail, CO, Colorado
EAGLE COuNTY ” I’m not sure if you are aware of this or not, but there’s an election tomorrow.
Shocking, I know! Snuck right up on us, didn’t it? There has been no indication whatsoever that it’s election season. All the candidates have just been so subtle this year.
Good God! I long for the day that the lawns are covered with leaves instead of political yard signs. And I have to tell you, in the wake of all the political ads, I’m actually looking forward to the return of those pharmaceutical ads with their convoluted product names and lists of random and obscure side effects.
But before we start yanking out the yard signs, let’s not forget the reason they’re all there. It’s all about voting, baby!
Do you remember the first time you voted? Or going with one of your parents to vote when you were a kid? I remember going to the polls with my mom and watching her cast her ballot.
I recall her explaining what she was doing and why it was important to her and how people all over the country were doing the exact same thing on that day. That made a lasting impression on me.
Our neighborhood’s precinct voted in the county Grange Hall in Glasgow (Oregon, not Scotland). It was a musty, smelly, old building and to this day, I can’t smell a damp, old building without feeling patriotic.
I don’t think it’s possible to forget the first presidential election that you ever vote in. Mine was by absentee ballot when I was in college.
I voted for George Bush, the first one, the “thousand points of light,” Dana Carvey version, not the current Will Farrell, W. version. Yes, I voted Republican. I’m sure it had something to do with the fact that the president of the Young Republicans was really cute, among other things. Yeah, I know. Not very solid political reasoning, and this from a political science minor.
But I felt like I was getting to participate, that I was doing my job as American when I filled out that ballot. I was proud to have done my part.
The first time I actually got to vote for the president in the polls, I was working as a press secretary for the Colorado State Senate, so not only was it a personal milestone, I was part of the machine. I was integrally wrapped up in, and concerned about, every race, knew the players, was invested in the issues.
I recall pressing the levers in the voting booth and that they felt very heavy, that every vote I cast was changing something, making a difference somewhere. I felt very responsible for the fate of the nation. I finally understood what my mom had told me about when I had gone behind the curtain of the voting booth with her all those years ago.
Fellow columnist Richard Carnes wrote last week that he encourages only those who are educated on the candidates and issues to vote.
According to Richard, the rest of you should just stay home. While I agree with Richard on a few points (we should know what we’re voting on; we should skip the questions to which we have no earthly clue about), I don’t buy the whole argument.
Sure, you can choose not to vote, but getting informed is not that hard. The League of Women Voters (smartvoter.org) and the Colorado Legislative Council
(coloradobluebook.com) provide non-partisan information on the candidates and all 18 of the amendments and referendums on the ballot. Read a little vaildaily.com to get information on the local issues and candidates.
You won’t know every position that every candidate takes, nor will you understand every nuance of all the issues, but you can certainly learn enough to form an opinion.
And in this case, your opinion actually counts.
Will one vote change the world? Well, probably not, but remember how close the 2000 presidential election was? Be mature enough to do your research and take responsibility.
Otherwise our country will be a democracy only in name and we’ll become an oligarchy, with leaders chosen only by those with the time, interest and inclination to care.
Linda Boyne of Edwards writes weekly for the Vail Daily. She can be contacted through email@example.com
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