Archive for Thursday, October 30, 2008

Reflection spawns ballot choice

October 30, 2008

It was following the movie “Secret Lives of Bees” that it became clear to me for whom I would vote in the upcoming presidential election. There is something about a life well lived and hard-fought for that I find appealing.

Wars are fought on many levels, and prisoners taken in many ways; however and wherever, character develops. It can be said that men and women who fight in declared wars are heroes, decorated or not. Soldiers who defend our freedom are to be lauded and deserved to be cared for when they return home.

There are other wars, undeclared, that women and children fight on a daily basis, often alone and unaided. Wars against ignorance, poverty, discrimination, brutality to name only a few; wars waged on the home front of many people whose faces we do not recognize and whose names we are unable to recall, because we did not come to know the faces nor have we asked their names.

We do not name them as heroes. Often we do not name them at all.

Those who come through the daily wars, challenged with prejudice and lack of opportunity, are heroes in a very real sense. They march to a drummer unheard by many but whose drumbeat is pleading and often as not compelling, even demanding.

Those who come through such life experiences seem to come out the other side in one of three ways: apathetic, mean as junkyard dogs or with a depth of character that is girded with drive, ambition and the zeal to make life better for others.

If I could choose someone to lead this country, I want someone who has come through life experiences from the bottom up, hardscrabble, a fighter, who has a zeal for making life better for someone else. I think I found him.

I would never vote for someone based on race. I wouldn’t let it stop me. I would never vote for anyone based on gender. I wouldn’t let it stop me either. In this election, I really wanted to vote for a woman but the right woman just isn’t on a ballot.

So I am going to vote for someone who would have survived July l964 with aplomb; who would have lived and worked on that bee farm and been the better for it, who marched to the drum beat of change, equality and human decency, who emerged with a deepening of character and a largeness of heart that would even forgive the one who wronged him, who loves his family first, country second.

Love of family, doing the right thing, embracing change when it’s needed, standing firm in the face of adversity, with all the hope that youth has to offer. I surprise even myself sometimes.

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