Breaking My Own Rule

What’s that saying…? Never discuss politics or religion.

It’s a rule I’ve pretty much followed, because I’ve found that I’ve never (not even once) experienced an enlightening conversation on these topics in mixed company with opposing views.

Too often, it just gives people a chance to sharpen the points on their own arguments and justifications without really, I mean really, listening to the other party. And that’s about the best outcome. The worst is having one or both sides devolve into a shouting match, replete with dismissive insults.

I find this a sad commentary on people’s fears, and tendencies toward close-mindedness in the name of righteousness. I mean, really, what is so threatening that we can’t let ourselves fully consider someone else’s point of view? If for no other reason than to come to a better understanding of who that person is and why?

Okay, since I’ve never veered off the designated subjects of this blog — my daughter, my dogs, a love of nature, and the occasional writing tip — where am I going with this post?

I have many lurkers who are young people, who’ve emailed me personally over time for one reason or another.

Young people, this post is for you.

I’m sure you’ve noticed, we are living in wild times. In this election year, you have the ability to affect the outcome. Please take this responsibility and opportunity seriously. All our futures depend on it.

First, please start by reading Nutmeg’s important post on One Vote is No Longer Enough.

Second, I’m not going to demean your intelligence by “suggesting” who you should vote for. (If you email me privately and wish to know who I’m voting for and why, I’ll be happy to share.) I will tell you that I’m registered as an Independent who has, over the years, voted both Republican and Democrat. Every election I do the work of thoroughly educating myself on the issues and candidates of both parties.

If you haven’t already, I’m asking you to do the same.

Please don’t let the fear-mongers get to you, or the slogans and soundbites sway you. Educate yourself by listening to all sides, as well as committing to doing your own investigating and digging to find the facts on each of the candidates and their running mates.

(A quick tip: Major foreign news outlets help flesh out the whole picture and often give a more balanced view of what’s going on here than do our own.)

(Another quick tip: Make FactCheck.org your new best friend. This is “a nonpartisan, nonprofit, consumer advocate site for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.” Also check out Fight the Smears web site, also provided by courtesy of Nutmeg.)

And, lastly, grab your friends and their friends, and GET OUT AND VOTE!

You can REGISTER TO VOTE ONLINE here, and if you can’t get a ride or are registered in another state, you can REQUEST TO VOTE ABSENTEEhere.

Be aware that there is a deadline for registration. In order to vote you must be registered 20 days before the election which is November 4th. That means you need to register by October 14th.

This may well be the most important election in which you’ll vote. Time is running out, so ACT now.

Oh, all right, since you’ve twisted my arm. I’m voting for Obama.

11 thoughts on “Breaking My Own Rule”

  1. I’ve been thinking a lot lately along the same line of the first part of your post–why is it so hard? I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that if you really get down to brass tacks most people’s beliefs aren’t so very different–but that gets lost somehow. No answers here, just thinking a lot about the questions.

    Meryl’s last blog post..Barefoot Bloggers: Butternut Squash Risotto

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  2. Hi Karen, I’m one of those lurker young people. :) I love your writing. I wish I had a mom like you when I was growing up – not that I don’t love mine, she’s great in her own way. We just didn’t talk much.
    Anyway, just wanted to delurk to tell you thanks for the links. I’ve registered online and I’ll be voting for Obama.

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  3. Pam, yes for those interested in supporting the Obama campaign, there’s much that can be done. Please consider volunteering.

    Tom, it’s downright scary how many constitutional rights have been seriously tampered with or discarded — all in the name of fear.

    Caffienated Cowgirl, I hope your nephew is indicative of a trend in young people. That’s great!

    Meredith, glad you took the time to throw your hat in the ring. All you other expats out there, there’s still time!

    Lynn, I have several good Canadian friends who feel exactly the same way you do.

    Nutmeg, thanks for such great coverage and links. I’m with you all the way.

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  4. Well said! I too am a registered independent who has voted both ways. Along with Factcheck.org, in the next few weeks we may need to check out this site – fightthesmears.com – as the McCain Campaign was recently quoted as saying, “If the country keeps talking economy our team will lose. The only way to keep the conversation away from the economy is to attack Obama’s character.”

    Governor Rendell of Pa recently said he has never in thirty-five years in politics seen a campaign run as well as the Obama campaign – the quality of leadership and amount of donations raised without money from lobbyists is unprecedented. That’s the man I want managing 700 billion dollars of the tax payers money.

    nutmeg’s last blog post..wrong number

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  5. We’re having an election in Canada in a few days — and I still don’t know who I’m voting for. I know who I won’t vote for, but … our choices aren’t so great.

    Oddly enough, if I were voting in the American election, it would be no contest.

    Lynn Sinclair’s last blog post..So Many Things Wrong

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  6. Great post for the young. I am not into reading about politics on blogs…not my thing…but I am very political. You can imagine how proud I was when my 18 year old nephew registered to vote the other day. A vote is a vote…one person is still one person.

    Caffienated Cowgirl’s last blog post..Current Addictions

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  7. Yeah, it is pretty interesting that it’s so difficult to have an intelligent discussion on politics without everybody getting on their high horse. Too bad really.

    John McCain interested me in the last election, but I’m afraid he’s gone round the bend this time. Sarah Palin? God help us all. Oh yeah that’s right. Sarah’s got that market cornered. I’m a man of faith but enough is enough! What was that little constitutional detail of separating church and state? Haven’t we had enough constitutional rights obliterated by Bush?

    FactCheck.org is awesome! Thanks for the tip! I’m sending it to my whole address book. Maybe this will help start more balanced conversation. One can hope.

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