A few days ago, I was thinking about the upcoming election and all the pomp and circumstance that surrounds it. There have been a lot of things to ponder: the mud-slinging, the role of the media, the "fear factor" ... but it extends far beyond these boundaries. This election has forced us to consider the true meaning of equality of both race and gender. It has forced many of us to look deep into our collective souls, to think deeply about the true values of this country, about leadership, about insight and vision for the country both inside and outside our borders. And amongst all of that, I was thinking about the beauty of the democratic process - of upholding your responsibility to vote so that you can then have an active voice in the future of the country and the freedoms we hold dear.
In the midst of this, I thought a great deal about some basic elements that I think get to the root of what we hold true. I think the labels may change, but when you get down to it, "red" states and "blue" states all have people like you and I that still just want to grow, learn, earn a living, raise a family, be all that they can be, love their parents and family and friends, and in all of this, maybe even leave a legacy and make the world a little bit better place than when we arrived on it.
I set out to create a reminder of all of these things, a sort of "Election Day Credo" to keep in mind as we rapidly approach November 4, a day that we may look back at as truly significant for our generation and those after us.
So here it is ... my Election Day Credo ... so repeat after me:
I am not a Democrat. Nor a Republican. Nor a Libertarian.
I am not a label, nor a lobbying group.
I am not "us versus them", either locally or globally.
I am not afraid. I do not make fear-based decisions on information driven by the hidden agendas of the media.
I believe in the personal power to make self-informed choices and decisions that impact the world in which I live.
I believe in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and all the freedoms that we have (unfortunately) taken for granted but hold so dear.
I am an intelligent, free-thinking human that believes in rights, responsibilities, and the American Dream. I vote as a means of upholding my national responsibility in order to maintain the freedoms that are important to our country. I believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the principles that drove their creation.
I believe in civil rights and in equality under the law - equality regardless of gender or race. Better yet, it's not just equality under the law - it's equality as a belief system, as a moral code by which we can all live and strive to attain.I believe in freedom and the passions that founded this country's pursuit of such. I also believe in the choice by others to not pursue the same ideals as ours and to not have "freedom" jammed down their throats should that be their choice. Our way is our way, not necessarily your way too. And I am ok with that.
I believe in the entrepeneurial spirit and in capitalism. A day's wage for a day's work - regardless of race or gender. And beyond that, I beleive in the spirit of innovation in this country that sent a man to the moon - perhaps no less a challenge than a financial crisis or global warming.
I believe in the right to health and health care, to some level or degree. One should not be in fear at every turn, fear of huge health care costs simply because you don't have any level of basic health services.
I am part of a global village in which we are all responsible for/to each other - to some degree or another. This same global village is also responsible for the health and well-being of our earth.
There you have it. Maybe this will serve as a simple reminder of what is really at stake in the next election.