This morning I was thinking about why people choose not to vote. Then I turned on NPR and got an earful of political vitriol. It's safe to say nearly all of us are feeling beaten down from this election cycle. And my interpretation of what I keep hearing is that all of us are wrong (that says something about me, I know). But I felt like that 10 minutes of NPR was the zillionth time I got the message that my choice for POTUS is the wrong one.
If you put yourself in one camp or the other, someone is there to tell you the country will surely go to hell in a hand basket faster than ... well, just really fast. What I'm hearing is that we're all basically being told "get your head on straight and vote for MY candidate." Campaigning has taken an unfortunate turn. The rhetoric is divisive and abusive; it's filled with name-calling, taunting, and misinformation. My sensitive soul has a hard time bearing it.
I don't know about you, but feeling, or believing, or being told I'm wrong all the time either makes me want to withdraw from the fight, if you will, or to fight harder, be louder, be right-er.
If you've decided to not vote, you have your reasons, and I don't need to know them or argue with them. But I do want to ask you, just for a couple minutes, to shut out all the hate and drama from this political race and instead focus on that voice inside of you that talks to you all day, every day.
Now throw away *that* negative internal dialogue as well as any echoes of the media or the candidates that are bouncing back and forth in your head. Listen a little more, a little harder. Be still for just a couple of breaths. Do you hear another voice? Perhaps a quieter, but steady and sure voice?
That's the one that tells you *your* truth. That's the real YOU, I believe. That's the you that belongs to the collective. That's the you who can choose and cast the vote that works best for you and your life and your place in this country.
If you have decided not to vote, ask that quiet, true self about your desire not to do so.
Do you suppose that your vote (read: voice) doesn't really matter? No one listens to you anyway, so why bother? Or you don't trust yourself so you think your presidential selection could be wrong. Or your vote will just be cancelled out by another's so what's the difference? Maybe you feel separate and isolated from the collective, whatever and whoever that may be for you.
So what is it you hear? And if you don't like what you hear or you want to believe something new and different, can you shift it? What would you need to know or to let go of to understand that your vote/voice does matter?
On this election eve, I'm going to finish up here with three things.
First is a reminder I toss my kiddo's way when I sense as if he has turned down the volume when it comes listening to his gut, to his true self: Hear YOUR voice first.
Second, in this case, just by way of being an American you are part of this collective. Your vote matters, and you do not need an invitation to show up at the polls and cast your ballot. You belong.
And third, a quote from my smart, fellow feel-y, writer friend, Toni, on why the election process moves her: "We ARE the country, all of us, the good, the bad, the easy-streeters, the strugglers; the single, married, divorced, poor, rich; every hope, despair, dream, heartache, belly laugh - all of these, every single one, we are. WE are."
Wishing you a meaningful and truthful election day. Happy voting - or not - everyone.