Sunday, May 27, 2007

Using my brain, not just my pencil

I'm not fond of politics. When things get "political," the things that are vital tend to sink underground, while everyone argues insessently about the frivilous details.

Not fond of that.

Yet, it's a part of the process that gives us all a voice. It's also everwhere we look right now. So, I tolerate the muck.

I hit a point a few years ago that I realized if I blindly voted a straight ticket, I wasn't using my brain. If you understand my geographic location and my religious background, then you're not surprised that I voted straight-ticket.

It was a Texas election that woke me up to my mistakes. There was a race for Railroad Commissioner. The Republican candidate was ... well, a Republican. Outside of that, they had absolutely no experience or prior knowledge in the areas of Railroad Commission. Heck, I didn't know what the Railroad Commissioner was supposed to do. So, I searched, I read and I learned. The Democratic candidate was ... well, was qualified for the job - WELL qualified.

The Democrat was the best choice.

For the first time in my life, I voted for a Democrat. I felt like all of my Baptist friends were going to come oozing out of the walls like Night of the Living Dead and pull me back where I belonged ... the Land of the Straight Ticket. Because Republicans are (fill in short list here). So, at least you're voting for a person who is (fill in short list here), right? Never mind that he'll completely suck at his job and has absolutely no right or reason to be given such a responsibility.

So, I grew up "politically" that year. I realized that I have some amazing grey matter between my ears and the ability to add stuff to it. Now, I spend time understanding the people who are running for public office. If I do not understand the requirements of a position, I look it up. If I do not know the background and experience of a candidate, I look it up. I make my decisions before heading to the polls, and walk in with my choices already written down. My husband and I discuss details before an election, but we rarely talk about our own personal votes until the following day.

This is a great chance to start paying attention to the people throwing their hats into the ring. Read articles on candidates written by both political parties. Understand the job that will be required of each person.

Join me in never voting blindly again.


Summer said...

See, another reason why I love you. You actually research your choices rather than folowing the herd. :)

beth said...

Been there, done that. Had the same awakening. Jesus was NOT a Republican! Whoa!

Thinking hard this year about all the options - the INDIVIDUALS, rather than the party.

Does it even really matter anymore? That is, the party. What, exactly, is the dividing line? Just seems like whether or not you like the Yankees or the Red Sox....Cowboys or the Redskins...Astros or the Rangers. Republican or Democrat. What's the difference? Does it matter?