Thursday, November 08, 2007

Voting (Written on Tuesday, of course)

I voted today. I’m sure you can all guess how I voted. But what I want to say about was this: it’s a cool thing. I saw Stephanie there. Five minutes before, she had picked up her daughter who had been playing at my house. She didn’t mention, when she picked up her daughter, that she was heading over to vote. I didn’t mention that I had been waiting to vote until she got her daughter. But there she was, pulling into the parking lot behind me. I smiled and waved, and then waited in line not far from her.

But we didn’t talk. She didn’t ask me how I was voting, and I didn’t ask her.

That was what was cool to me. It was almost like being in the temple, really. We were doing something very sacred and very private. I didn’t want to know whether she agreed with me, because it had nothing to do with our friendship. I liked seeing her there, seeing that she cared, and that was enough. I could leave her alone to do her thing. I love the privacy of voting, and the weight of it. I love this country, even with all of its evils, even in all its commercial and capitalistic glory. Today I am grateful to live here, even as I don’t yet know the results of the vote.

Added later:

Although I like the outcome of the vote, I have some major discomfort over the whole thing. I can’t believe how many people voted who were uninformed. The reasons people gave for voting against vouchers, for example, often showed that the voters didn’t understand the issue in its specifics at all. (Pro-voucher people also sometimes mistook the details and ramifications.) I’m glad vouchers didn’t pass, but I wish that the vote reflected the wishes of well-informed voters.

That said, and at the risk of contradicting or making a fool of myself, I have to say this: the thing I hate most in any disagreement is when someone uses the argument, “If you don’t agree with me, you must be uninformed/brainwashed/lacking intelligence.” I saw an interview with what’ right after the vote and he said, “Well, this issue was basically an I.Q. test.”

Ouch! Could you be more personally insulting? I disagree with you, buddy. So I must be dumb.(And it wasn’t just the pro-voucher people throwing that stuff around, I admit. Both sides were doing it. Also both sides were equally guilty of generalizing the issue to the point of obfuscation in order to get their little soundbites. You sum things up for us in stupid ways and then accuse us of being stupid when we vote according to your little soundbites!)

In college, an acquaintance once tried to convince me of a particular interpretation of a gospel doctrine on which I disagreed with him. He began his argument with, “I know I’ll convince you, Darlene, because you’re an intelligent person, and I’ve never failed to convince an intelligent person on this issue.” Well, there you go. He’s put me in a box so that I can either agree with him or prove my stupidity. There’s no arguing with that. Yuck!

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