I can't believe I'm doing this, writing about elections on election day. I've avoided just about all election coverage I could. No, I didn't watch any of the debates. Why would I want to see someone I would like to do better, and another that just about makes me sick to watch, when I knew I was voting for not-that-guy? (Though I was particularly proud of my book groupies who wanted to come to the October book group and also wanted to watch one of those debates, and someone shared that it would be on hulu, so they all came to the book group and learned how to find it on hulu.)
So no, I don't know what inspiring things Obama has been saying, things that I now would not entirely trust. I hold a little hope that if he does win, that is if the election isn't stolen from him, that he could bring about some more of the changes he promised last time, such as withdrawal of troops from Iraq, and bring about more substantial change to the changes he has made, such a more universal health care. (now I better finish before it is all decided before our polls close here in Oregon)
At home, [Adams] filled pages of his journal with observations on government and freedom, “notes for an oration at Braintree,” as he labeled them, though the oration appears never to have been delivered. Government is nothing more than the combined force of society, or the united power of the multitude, for the peace, order, safety, good and happiness of the people. . . . There is no king or queen bee distinguished from all others, by size or figure or beauty and variety of colors, in the human hive. No man has yet produced any revelation from heaven in his favor, any divine communication to govern his fellow men. Nature throws us all into the world equal and alike. . . . The preservation of liberty depends upon the intellectual and moral character of the people. As long as knowledge and virtue are diffused generally among the body of a nation, it is impossible they should be enslaved. . . . Ambition is one of the more ungovernable passions of the human heart. The love of power is insatiable and uncontrollable. . . . There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty. Part I, Chapter One, Section II, p. 55One of those friends asked why someone would want to become president, as they clearly age 20 years while in office, and yet, they turn around and do it again. Talk ensued of attraction to power, of narcissism, etc. Our manner of elections encourage this at almost all levels. If a person enters the political arena from ideals, and a pretty good moral compass, it is difficult to retain authenticity and honor. Good people often don't wish to taint their own moral ground by getting involved in politics. They effect change close to home, in non-governmental ways.
I got involved in the peace efforts thinking I acted not politically, but from the heart. I felt a visceral response to someone calling it political action, but I had to realize, that is what taking it to the streets is. It is political to vote. It is political to withhold a vote. It is political to speak up about how the system stinks. It is political to organize a permitted rally and march. As soon as I have an intent to change someone's mind about how this society works together, it is political, no matter that it comes from the deepest faith in love from my heart. In this we are all thrust "into the world equal and alike."
As I read McCullough's book, I am admiring John Adams because he did not get into politics for personal power. It is clear he got involved due to love of his homeland. He did things he did not want to do, such as act as a Minister in Europe, first in France, then to the Dutch, then in Britain. He was seven years away from his beloved wife, who finally joined him after her first dreaded Atlantic voyage. He did this to his own financial detriment, and often wasn't even thanked by the congress. His political action was from his heart.
I would like to have some choice. I would like to feel I live in a true democracy. We need to find a more effective way for our nation to reflect the "united power of the multitude." We need:
- Election day to be a national holiday. (duh)
- We need to consider individual voters innocent of fraud until proven guilty...so all those laws that prevent individuals from voting need to be rescinded, such as having to prove themselves with ID.
- We need to have equal access. Thus there has to be enough places and equipment so people don't have to wait to vote, or have to prove they have the right to vote, or have to lose a job to take the time to vote. People need to be able to register the same day they wish to vote.
- We need to prevent election tampering, and that means getting corporations with agendas out of the business. It is currently much easier for one person to affect wide ranges of votes with a single machine, than it is for one voter to do something fraudulent.
- We need to have a choice, and by that I mean we need to be able to vote for more than two nominally polarized candidates. We need preferential or ranked choice voting, or instant run-off voting. Or something as democratic. So I could vote for my true choice, as well as vote for not-that-guy. I could vote for the woman who is not paid for by the corporations.