Democracy Is Not For Whiners

Ok, I am so tired of everyone’s facebook entries, tweets, etc., today. I can’t say how many people said, in essence, my vote doesn’t count.

What part of your vote always counts do people not understand? As a woman, all I have to do is think about how recent it is that women were allowed to vote. All I have to do is think of the suffering, the beatings and jailings, that brave women endured to give me the right. How dare I squander the privilege. But… There is a difference between winning and having your vote count.

I am a constitution defending geek. And in that tradition I say, and believe, that your vote is the most precious gift your democracy gives you. It is your voice, your chance to say “I disagree”. If one side won by 100% of the vote because the other half stayed home there would be no mandate for elected officials to think about all the electorate once they take office. When you win office by 1% of the vote you darn well know that there is power in the other 49%; that your political life may be short lived.

You vote to be heard, you vote to participate, you don’t always win. That’s the thing about majority rule… the majority rules. You speak your piece and then move on with the business of life, or governing as the case may be. The whole issue of gridlock and elected officials who don’t seem to get this currently is a discussion for another day. But this is the nature of the democratic process.

It is hard to say your piece and lose. It is demanding to accept the will of the majority, particularly when you deeply disagree with the apparent will of the majority. But there is no alternative. There is however, good news ~ there will be another election, another chance to speak, to vote, to win. But you have to wait and work for that day. Those of you who are like minded have to work together to convince another 3 or 4% (in the 51% scenario) that you are right. When that happens, you will win and the other will be the 49%, waiting for you to forget that they are almost half of those represented.

[tweetshare tweet=”Nobody likes to lose but all of us must, from time to time, in a democratic society. Clearly, democracy is not for whiners.” username=”@trienahm”]

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Things I Want My Son To Know #1 ~ Vote

So. . . I was thinking (I know, you can stop laughing now). If I had a short time to live and my son was still a teenager, which he is, what would I want to say to him, as his mom, his teacher, what would I want him to know? Better to write it down now I think, maybe then it won’t be needed. Either way, a legacy of lessons. If it is, there it will be, one task done. Lots of you will laugh but since I think each blog entry should be about one thing, here is my one thing . . . VOTE. Sounds silly? I am not sure when I became such a promoter of democracy. I know that in the better part of my working life I felt close to the constitution because of what I did; I always felt like a warrior in my role which was in defense of the little guy and in defense of the constitution. But as usual, I digress. I believe, in every aspect of life, that you earn the right to bitch about things by being willing to be part of changing them, by stepping up and raising your hand. Everyone in America these days has an opinion, more often than not a loud and relatively uninformed opinion. Which brings me to a subset of VOTE which is “be informed”. It seems to me that many young people these days have little sense of the world and what goes on it it, despite how global and technologically connected we all are these days. And how few of them have any sense of what news outlet has what bias? Very few I imagine. You can’t intelligently exercise your right to vote if you have no idea who and what you are voting for. But I believe with all my heart that the two most precious gifts our democracy gives us are the right to speak our minds out loud and the right to change things with our vote. No matter how obnoxious your views are to me or how much I disagree, I will defend at all costs your right to express them so long as they don’t actively create actual or immediate harm. And no matter how small or large the election, no matter how local and no matter how much you might think it doesn’t matter, VOTE, exercise your right to be heard. Then you can be heard to complain.

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