Archive of ‘Politics’ category

Collecting My Thoughts

As I sat on my sofa and watched the sunrise this morning, I took a sip of my coffee. Most of the time, I start my day like this and think about all the work I have to do, the errands I need to run, and what I need to get accomplished in the next 12 hours or so. But, this morning, I had a completely different train of thought. I sat there and wondered – what exactly are we all in for this week as a nation?

My first thought was, please God, let’s not have a repeat of last week’s events. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever think I would witness an attack on our legislative branch (or any branch for that matter). Growing up, I remember being taught that the legislature is the most important branch of government. From creating our laws and protecting our rights to declaring war, our senators and representatives represent our ideals for democracy. And the Capitol building is where they work every day for all of us. It is their home away from home. It’s a melting pot of people who speak on behalf of its citizens. At least, I like to think they do, but don’t worry, I am not that naive.

For me, the Capitol building has always been a place of reverence and compromise, certainly not violence, hate, and intolerance. I have so many photos of myself in front of that majestic building with my parents and sister on school trips and family vacations. I’ve visited D.C. more often than any other city in the country – except for Philadelphia (of course). I’ve gone there to visit with my sister, who lived in the District for many years or attend meetings with colleagues. The last time I was there was about a year ago to see a special showing of High Fidelity followed by a conversation with the one and only John Cusack. I took the train to D.C. and remembered walking out of Union Station, and the first thing I saw was the Capitol welcoming me to one of my favorite cities. It has always been a sight to behold and a symbol of all that is good and decent in our country. I have so many good memories there.

It’s hard to wrap my head around what happened on those steps and in those gilded hallways just a few short days ago. In a word, it was frightening. Just like you, I watched our representatives being evacuated from the House chamber that I’ve toured a few times when they weren’t in session. I recognized many of those faces from Meet the Press and Face the Nation and saw them running for their lives. They became much more human to me in those moments than their somewhat celebrity status on TV. I felt for their families, who were helplessly watching this all unfold live on television along with the rest of the country. I can’t imagine the sheer panic these men and women (and their staff and everyone else who works in the building) went through in those harrowing moments and then subsequent hours of waiting and wondering when they can go back to work and how long it would before they could hug their loved ones.

I wish I didn’t know that the horrible people who attacked our democracy existed in this country. I always knew they could be found if I really looked – but I never looked. And then, they were there. People who have an inherent loathing for all minorities and wear their hate across their chests with pride and in plain sight. It is terrifying that such a mob could descend upon our leaders and threaten them with more than just words.

And now, there are talks of impeachment and removal and the 25th amendment and resignations, all of which, by the way, I am totally on board with. Throw the book at them, I say.

God only knows what comes next, which is what I was thinking about as I drank my coffee in my peaceful home at the crack of dawn. I hope and pray that whatever happens doesn’t top last week’s events. And I think I’ll leave it at that.

 

For The Undecided Voters

This morning, I woke up and couldn’t figure out what to wear. I searched my closet for the perfect outfit. First, I put on a pair of shorts and a cute t-shirt. I soon realized it was going to be much cooler, so I opted for jeans instead. And then, I switched my top for one that was more appropriate for my morning Zoom meetings. Thirty minutes later, I ditched the whole ensemble for a cute dress and big hoop earrings because I decided I needed a pick me up to motivate myself to start the day.

Finding the right outfit to wear is never an easy decision for me, but you know what is – who I’m voting for in the presidential election. I guess I am fortunate in knowing which candidate represents my values, and which one I want to be exiled to a deserted island for all eternity.

I guess it is also why I’m so baffled when I listen to people who are still undecided. But instead of criticizing them, I’m trying to understand what’s going on. And the more I read, the more I learned.

For instance, a voter who has been a Republican their entire life–raised Republican, parents were Republicans–can’t wrap their head around the idea of voting outside their party, I totally get that. I couldn’t imagine voting for anyone but a Democrat. To them I say, maybe this time is different. Maybe it isn’t about what party you belong to but about putting your country before party.

For Democrats who didn’t want Biden to win the primaries, he wasn’t my first choice either. I liked Pete and Kamala and Cory myself. But then, I decided that a Biden/Harris administration won’t consistently lie to the public, dismantle trusted systems, or disrespect and publicly ridicule and bully those who are different based on their race, religion, or sexual orientation. I’d much rather go to sleep at night knowing we are a beacon of hope for the world instead of a laughing stock in the global community.

For those who wanted to vote for Kanye West, sorry, I have nothing for you.

Here’s the thing. I’m not trying to tell you how to vote. These are my own feelings that I’m lucky to have a platform where I can share them with you. But, if you are registered to vote, please, please don’t sit this one out, cross your fingers, and hope for the best. It shouldn’t be that hard to match your values to the candidate. You are a smart cookie and you know what you believe in. You know right from wrong. You love your country. You want us to continue to be a leader in the free world. You want to help others in need. You want to succeed in business. You want to provide for your family.

And maybe like me, the most important issue to you these days is having a safe, scientifically-based, and effective vaccine to treat COVID-19 so that you and your loved ones can live a healthy life to the fullest. You want to travel again. Go to the movies or a concert again. Attend a wedding or a graduation party with all of your loved ones. Or just go back to school or work or leave your house and go out to dinner without risking your life.

So, here is my question — with 13 days left to go, what will you decide?

My Voting Plan

I’m a big planner. I like having all of my ducks in a row. I want my i’s dotted and my t’s crossed. I don’t love to leave things to chance.

I had a birth plan when I was pregnant with my kids. I still have the spreadsheets, seating charts, and menus from their b’nai mitzvahs. I pride myself on being organized in everything from our family calendar to job hunting. I know this makes me sound square, but it is how I’m wired.

Up until a few days ago, my voting plan was to wake up at 6:30 a.m., get dressed, grab a cup of coffee, drive to the church that serves as my polling place and cast my vote in person. I didn’t want to mail in my ballot. Not because I believe it won’t be counted. I have great faith and trust in the system. I encouraged — ok, nagged — my college-aged daughter to vote by mail.

Personally, I love to be a part of the day. I want to stand in line with my neighbors, walk in the building, thank the poll workers, sign my name in the book, be with my fellow citizens, and make my choice in public view. There is something to be said about wanting to be seen while performing my patriotic duty.

Ok, I’d like to collect my “I Voted” sticker too.

But then, I had a thought. What if I’m sick that day? What if I wake up with a nasty cold or a stomach bug and have no business standing in line and being around other people?

What if I miss my chance to have my voice heard?!

Frankly, I would be devastated. I’ve voted in just about every election since I turned 18. Voting is a ritual in my family. So much so that I’ve written a few posts about it – here and here. It’s that important to me. And this is not a year to miss. Personally, I can’t take four more years of our current commander in chief. I know I may have to, but it won’t be because I didn’t have a say.

Did I also mention that I live in a swing state? Pennsylvania turned red in 2016 and that was a punch in the gut for me. I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia which is fairly liberal, but there are a lot of rural communities between here and Pittsburgh. We have a good chance of going blue this year, and a thin margin must be prevented at all costs.

So, I bit the bullet and ordered a mail-in ballot. I will proudly do my civic duty from my kitchen table instead of in person. There is too much at stake and in a pandemic, it’s too risky. I don’t want to throw away my shot.

Do you have a plan to vote? If not, you have 32 days to make one. I hope your plans include bringing your kids with you or at least talking to them about the process. No matter what your political leanings may be, the right to vote is something we should take seriously.

FYI: If you want an absentee ballot, visit the Better Know Your Ballot website for details about your state.

 

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