Tomorrow is election day. Get out and vote. I’ve heard all the hyperbole and rhetoric and now its time to make up my mind and take a stand. Some people say they don’t vote because one vote doesn’t make a difference. I wonder how much difference it would make if everyone I’ve heard say that actually got up and went out to vote.
Being a woman in this country, and a Native American, the privilege of voting is especially important to me. Black men could vote long before women of any color. It was even longer before Native Americans were considered citizens of their own country and could be trusted enough to vote.
What’s on my mind most tonight as I anticipate what I will do with my vote tomorrow is how often certain groups count on the vast majority of Americans NOT to vote. That’s how “they” win, you know. Whether you like Obama or not, he certainly galvanized the country to get out and vote. He’s still doing it, using online channels very effectively too. Whatever you think about his politics, he’s relevant using today’s technology in communicating his message.
I’m also thinking about the ways we limit ourselves by thinking in terms of labels. Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives, the “left”, the “right”. Labels marginalize our thinking. We use them to instantly categorize things we like or don’t like, in this case regarding politics. But what is the purpose of having a well-informed critical thinking mind if every time you disagree with someone else you are labeled, or “marginalized” … categorized into a bucket of whatever that person thinks you mean by not agreeing with him or her? I suspect that most of us are part liberal and part conservative in certain ways, each different. Our issues today are complex and touch us emotionally, financially and in our humanity. There is not one simple answer to any of the problems in our country. Labels will blind us to critical and original thought with regard to these issues. We should transcend them and overcome our institutional ways of thinking so we can try to come up with some innovative solutions to the problems that affect all of us.
We are Americans after all, noted for hard work and innovation and getting tough when the going gets tough. Let’s stop marginalizing ourselves with this self-destructive labeling and figure out the right thing to do for ourselves and for our fellow citizens.
Vote. Tomorrow. Make a difference. Use your mind and your heart. Do the right thing, whatever you think that is… make the Nike move and Just Do It. Stop limiting yourself. My current favorite quote says it all: Change your thoughts and you can change your world.-Norman Vincent Peale