Thursday, November 1, 2012

What do you think?

Do we need another sting?         Telling the truth can be difficult, if not impossible. For politicians, truth often flows like water and takes the shape of what it must be poured into. That’s why this report struck me as being, essentially, true:

The son of Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., has resigned from his father's campaign after a conservative group released an undercover video in which he discussed a ...

After watching the entire undercover video, I felt as if I had peaked under the flap of a huge tent that was meant to exhibit The American Way of Getting Elected. If that makes me seem naïve, perhaps I’m guilty of that. Nonetheless, I am all too familiar with voter fraud, ballot box tampering, and the purchasing of votes.

In our rough and tumble democracy, those dirty tricks might merit little more than a shrug from the likes of Huck Finn (Tom Sawyer too?). That said, I have to admit that, when it comes to voting, I feel so protective of that vital right that I want it to be treated as something special; voting, if done as intended, makes being American something to be proud of.

If you don’t share that feeling, I urge you to consider this. It doesn’t matter to me who you vote for as long as you vote. If the process works, even if our candidate loses, we must abide by the majority’s decision. Even if my candidate doesn’t win, my vote was cast and it counted.

Although I hope you feel that way too, I may never know.

But I do wonder whether you feel as I do about the story that follows.

“Do you know J. N.?” my part time seamstress asked.

Although she also works as a CNA at a nursing home, I seldom hear her mention that job. I answered her. “Went to school with his brother.”

“He’s so friendly. Funny guy. Alzheimer’s. He told me he was voting for Obama, didn’t even know who the other guy was.”

I didn’t respond. I’d known J.N.’s family for many years. I wondered what my seamstress was going to say next. So I mumbled something like, “That’s sad.” I had known the man when he was doing good things for our city.

“Yes it is!” she replied. “I’m seeing CNA’s who are caring for these Alzheimer patients
filling out ballots for them. Those patients don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t understand anything about their lives, much less this election!”
Her tone of voice made me look up from my work. She was outraged. In a more quiet way, I was too. Both of us shared a sense that our right to an honest vote had been violated. My bright and talented seamstress, a black woman who can make anything from cloth with her needles and thread, was incensed.

So was I. That shared feeling mattered to me. More than the results of this most important election, the integrity of the election process must not be compromised.

Regardless of the party you support, I hope you agree with me about that.

                                                                 B. Koplen11/1/12

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