Voting is a Precious Rite

Voting is a Precious Rite

Years ago, I talked with a businessman from California who had been through all kinds of agony with his daughter. After she got hooked on heroin, it took several trips through drug rehabilitation to get her free.

Voting is a Precious Rite blog post by Ken Walker Writer. Pictured: A woman holding a large picture of a smile in front of her face.Describing some of the challenges he had endured, he asked, “Do you know how to tell if a drug user is lying?”

“How?” I responded.

“When their lips are moving,” he said.

Lately, I’ve thought about that comment as I watch the flood of political advertisements related to our state’s primary election next week.

They’ve gotten so bad that it appears little truth resides in those 30-second spots. Not only do I discount their phony claims, I usually reach for the mute button.

Instead of relying on those commercials or their cousins—the four-color, slick campaign postcards that show up regularly in our mail—this spring I searched for alternative ways to get informed.

Pressing the Flesh

One of the most helpful has been attending “Meet the Candidates” events. I’ve been to a couple and learned about mayoral, city council, and county office candidates’ backgrounds. It was far more than I was aware of previously.

I have come to appreciate how valuable it is to observe candidates answering  questions about various issues. Or, not really answering.

At one forum, the moderator opened by asking those in the audience to listen carefully in the spirit of civic engagement. That encouraged everyone to treat our democratic republic with the seriousness it deserves.

In addition to those meetings, I carefully reviewed the special election section our daily (five times a week) newspaper distributed in late April. And, to make a more informed decision about the gubernatorial candidates who have been slinging mud at each other, my wife and I watched a forum with the leading contenders last week on the local NBC affiliate.

Informed Decision

While these activities may not have done more than scratch the surface, at least they will help me make more informed decisions when I step into the voting booth. Not just next week, but on Nov. 5.

Pictured: A hand with a pen filling out a ballot, as in voting.Let’s face it: self-government is a rather scary idea. We are entrusting elected  representatives to make weighty decisions on our behalf. People just like us. Flawed human beings who may bring to office personal agendas or influences that don’t align with the public good.

Yet when I weigh the alternatives like North Korea, Russia or other countries ruled by dictators or despots who care little about their people, I prefer democracy.

Besides, even scarier than self-government is the idea that global freedom is under serious threat. According to this 2022 report from Freedom House, enemies of democracy are accelerating their attacks.

Organized in 1941 to combat Adolph Hitler’s influence, the organization noted that the present threat to democracy is a product of 16 consecutive years of decline in global freedom.

“A total of 60 countries suffered declines over the past year, while only 25 improved,” their report noted. “As of today, some 38 percent of the global population live in ‘Not Free’ countries, the highest proportion since 1997. Only about 20 percent now live in ‘Free’ countries.”

There are many movements afoot today rooted in opposition to democracy. I sometimes wonder if such folks are deceived into thinking that there is such a thing as a “benevolent” dictator.

If you don’t think voting is precious, consider what would happen if that right were taken away.

One Response

  1. Pat Holland says:

    We are blessed we can still vote. However, we must stay alert and do all we can to keep it that way. Pat

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