Vote and Vote In Full
Because it isn't exactly apropos to discuss the voting habits of others, let me just say I have heard tell of some people who voted recently and voted solely for the Senator Obama and maybe another candidate or two, all the while neglecting the rest of the ballot. Considering the contentious tone during election season and these people's fatigue after spending so long waiting to vote in the first place, I held my tongue about how annoyed I was at this (which for me is speaking two minutes longer than I should instead of five). But I had to let my thoughts out on the matter at this venue in case anyone who hasn't voted early yet(and everyone really should) is considering doing the same thing.
I voted on Monday and I voted on the majority of the ballot. I voted typically down Democratic party lines. That's my prerogative. This blogpost isn't trying to convince you on the record of Barack Obama or about how Georgia and the US Senate could really use Jim Martin as opposed to Saxby Chambliss. I voted the majority of the ballot because I believe in voting on everything presented to me. I'm ashamed I didn't vote for the various judges on the ballot because they are non-partisan positions and I didn't feel right looking at names and judging the fairest sounding name on a whim. So there are things I voted for that were just missed. This actually bothers me because I didn't put the work in as a citizen of these United States and as a Georgian (for the time being). Still, I knew enough to vote in favor of leniency for homesteads and tree preservation. I voted against breaking up Atlanta into smaller cities and for beltline expansion. I voted against a hastily composed bond initiative for the Fulton County Libraries (come back later when you don't throw together a plan in a matter of weeks to build on an infrastructure when we have too many construction projects going in the the city at the same time).
I voted on the whole ballot because I care. I should care, not just because it concerns me, because it really doesn't. I'll be heading off to graduate school in a few months and Lord only knows when I'll return to Georgia again, but I still vote because I care. I know there are people I've met here who should have lower taxes and good local government. I know I'm in favor of the government helping people and urban expansion (as opposed to more suburbs and exurbs). I'm in favor of protecting the environment. I vote on these things because I care about them, whether or not I'll be reaping the benefits of these votes for long. These are things that matter, whether or not they matter to me alone. The wonder of democracy is that they don't just matter to me alone. The word comes for the Greek for popular government or authority of the people. Just because I won't be here long doesn't mean I should not take part. It does not mean that I can not show concern for those around me while I am still here.
Therefore, I take advantage of my vote. I take advantage of being a part of the democratic process. I will vote for state senators and little state constitutional amendments. It's said all politics are local, so I do what counts. I think that's one of the beautiful things about America and I don't think lightly about it.
So I tell my readers (all four of you) not only to get out and vote but to read about who you're voting for. We're facing not only a new day in America but a new day in our states and cities. These things matter because we see them everyday. I don't know if I'll ever meet Barack Obama but State Sen. Vincent Fort taught my History 112 class. I keep seeing the Georgia Pine down the highway and I want to know it'll be alright. I know I'll see Atlanta again and it would be nice to know the beltline project would help commuters. These things matter, whether or not they matter to me; in the same way, your local government should matter to you.
Get out and vote, and vote on the whole ballot.