Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

Patriotic Newborn Little -- dressed up for the Olympics

Today on Facebook, I wrote, as my daily thankfulness post (More on that later, like 'round the big thankfulness holiday, so don't be waiting on pins and needles for the next couple of weeks.)

Day 6: I am thankful to be an American. I was blessed to be born in a country where we have the right to vote in real elections, where there has always been peaceful transition of power, and where we do not have to fear voicing our political opinions. Go vote.
For me, that sentiment is not election-day bluster. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am patriotic to the core. My favorite song in 3rd grade was Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA." I sang that song with off-pitch gusto (read: spastic, passionate head movements). When there was an admittedly slim chance Little would arrive on the 4th of July, I assured people that God loved her too much to make her birthday coincide with her mother's love of Independence Day ("Patriotic birthday party, again, Mama? Can't I have a normal birthday for once?").

I'm not always fond of the direction in which the country is moving. I generally disagree with both political parties on enough issues that I am a registered Independent. This year, I have serious concerns about both political candidates, but my concerns with one outweigh my concerns with the other. I hate how divisive the political conversation has become.

But here's the thing. It's still political conversation. We fight. We say mean, nasty, ugly things on Facebook. We call each other names in the com box. Letters to the Editor point fingers in every direction. We can do that! We have free speech. Men have died to protect it. I can still say what I want about the government. I can express my opinion. I can rally (peaceably assemble). I can sign petitions (petition the government for a redress of grievances). I can read a newspaper or watch a news report that investigates flaws in the government: corruption, lies, what-have-you (unabridged press). I can pray for divine assistance anywhere I choose (no establishment of religion; free exercise of religion -- two parts to protect the fullness of our religious liberty).

Praise God for the First Amendment. (And thank you, Jerry Ellsworth, for making me memorize it; may you rest in God's peace.) Praise God that this country takes it seriously. Pray to God that this is always the case, as it is essential to protecting our freedom.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
You might love your choices (or, more likely, you might love one of your choices). You might hate your choices. But you get to vote in a real election. Not a sham election (where there is only one candidate or party) or fixed elections (it doesn't matter who you vote for -- the guy in office isn't leaving) or not get to vote at all.

Heck, the right to vote is taken for granted to the extent that a disgusting and disastrous number of qualified voters don't even bother to go exercise what should be their most prized right.

Let's assume, for the sake of argument that the military would prefer that Mitt Romney wins today. If he doesn't, Barack Obama will stay in office. People will be mad. People will pout. People will begin ramping up campaign efforts for 2014 and 2016. We take for granted what will not happen: the military will not take over and put Mitt Romney (or, more likely, a military figure) in power. Tanks will not roll on Washington, D.C. There will not be widespread riots. There will not be Civil War. Similarly, if Romney wins, Barack Obama will leave office. None of the above listed terrors will occur. There will simply be a peaceful transition of power.

That's a lot to be thankful for, because in most of the world, that's not the case.

So, today, on Election Day, God Bless the USA! (Thanks, Mr. Greenwood. I still love you.)

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