Friday, February 22, 2008

Civic Doody

Yesterday was Election Day. To drive home the importance of voting, I take my children with me to the polls. As I was checking in, I explained to Kylie and Declan that I was performing a civic duty. Well my son thought that was just hilarious. “Civic Doody! You’re going into that booth to do Doody!” Ahh yes, second grade humor. Everyone was very amused as he loudly explained the joke in detail to my literal daughter who didn’t get the double meaning.

Declan isn’t far off from most people’s thoughts on voting. Many think it’s a bunch of crap. They believe politicians serve only their own egos and agendas. In many cases, I absolutely agree. But there are a few gems to be sieved out and that’s what voting allows us to do. Choose the lesser of the evils if you must, but make a choice. Or someone else will do it for you.

There was only 30% turnout yesterday. Smaller numbers are expected during local elections, but it still surprises me. The decisions made by these politicians have a direct impact on the communities in which we live. For me, that includes great schools, lower taxes and county preserved open space near my home. So, heck yeah, I’m going to vote.

You can’t assume your neighbors’ votes are going to take care of things. Did you catch the uber talented Sabrina Bryan’s sad exit from Dancing with Stars? The judges theorize her fans thought everyone else was voting for her, so they didn’t have to cast their own vote.

My Uncle Jim (Matthews), was running for Montgomery County Commissioner. Although the incumbent, he anticipated a rough race. Republicans have run the county since the Civil War. However, disapproval of Bush and growing democratic numbers threatened the hold. He was right to worry. The margins were slim. This highlights the importance of each person’s vote.

My daughter saw all the negative TV ads slamming her great Uncle Jim, so she had her fifth grade class pray for him. Who am I to say it didn’t help? What I do know is that when my polling place closed, he was in the lead by one vote. I’d like to think it was mine!

It was a long evening at GOP headquarters while we waited for word. I met so many people who take their commitment beyond voting - they are the party’s volunteers. They get none of the glory but they do get the deep satisfaction of being part of a process that makes the United States the greatest country – down to every county.

There is a happy ending, too.

Congratulations to Jim Matthews, Montgomery County Commissioner!

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