Vote and Be Heard

Posted by Katherine | May 9, 2008 – 6:22 pm
Backwards Vote sign
[Dean Terry / Flickr]

Beth Martin Birky teaches women’s studies and English at Goshen College in Indiana. She recalls vividly her sixth-grade entree into electoral politics: “I remember my first voting booth: a cardboard refrigerator box in the hallway of Oak Street Elementary school in Orrville, Ohio.” Birky’s been a dedicated voter ever since, but she says, “The recent canvassing in Indiana has been the most energizing political experience I’ve had since I was eleven.”

She worries, though, that the divisive Democratic primary will alienate a swath of Democrats come November (via Ann Raber):

[A]s I consider the primary results in Indiana and North Carolina, I fear that the many first-time voters and even long-standing Democratic voters will abandon the race if their primary candidate does not become the Democratic nominee in August. On NPR or over lunch in the Leaf Raker, the college snack shop, I’ve heard Obama supporters say they will not vote at all if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic candidate. I’ve heard a relative who generally votes Democrat say he would vote for McCain before voting for Obama. I simply do not understand. There may be good reasons not to vote for Obama, Clinton or McCain, but I don’t believe there are convincing reasons not to vote at all. One vote may not determine who takes office in 2009, but every vote offers a political perspective that will be acknowledged, even if it does not influence the majority.

[…] If you were a first-time voter yesterday, please don’t let that be your last vote. As a Midwest Democrat, a Mennonite and a woman, I know the political landscape will not generally represent my values. As a U.S. citizen, though, I know that the political process is one place where I can speak. I hope to hear your voice on November 4, 2008, no matter what candidate you support.

Hopefully she’s right that voting means your opinion is heard in some fashion. If not, there’s always the blogosphere.


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