Watching the political season unfold in front of me reminds me of those famous words, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Who’s the fairest of them all?”. Personally, I don’t now which is more bizarre; someone talking to their mirror or hearing the mirror answer back? I know it’s a fairy tale (circa Grimm and others), but if you or I were the one doing the talking to a mirror, our families might be getting us the next fast-track ticket to the Ha-Ha Hotel (with wallpaper by RubberMaid and clothing supplied by Cross-Your-Arms-And-It-Ties-In-Back).
So as we’ve established, all mirrors are not created equal.
Some mirrors work at the carnival. Stand in front of them and you see yourself in brand new ways. If you’re on a diet, which mirror would you prefer to look at yourself in?
And what about one-way mirrors? Why are they called ‘one-way’ if you can see yourself from one side and see right through them from the other? Talk about being schizophrenic! Sybil anyone?
All this reflection on reflecting got me thinking why both political parties are so driven to project the images of themselves they want us to ‘buy’? Having watched Chicago politics for years, maybe the smoke-filled rooms of the past were the source for the phrase ‘smoke and mirrors’. And all of this, at its core, has to do with winning elections and thereby assuming the mantle of power. It all boils down to ‘the vote’.
I confess to being a political junkie. At one time or another, I’ll watch C-Span, ABC, Fox, MSNBC, CBS, Public Television and the BBC for my information. I read the blogs and the wire services. Why? I want as many ‘mirrors’ as I can get to insure I’m seeing the truest image of what really is (and what isn’t); who’s telling the truth (and who isn’t) and which candidate I think would be most likely to take someone like me into account in their decision-making process.
We Humans are, by nature of living in groups, innately political. Remember 7th Grade…or walking into the lunch room on your first day at a new school? Then you understand the impact of politics and the role it plays on your quality of Life. Frankly, I really don’t care if you identify yourself as being Republican, Democrat or a member of the Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang party. And oddly enough, I suspect our Founding Fathers didn’t either. Establishing a government that was representative? That they cared about very much…and so do I. Can you just hear old King George reading the latest dispatches about what was happening in colonial Philadelphia and saying to himself: “Now, look at what you’ve done…” And he’d be right. Look at what we Americans have done since 1607 (Jamestown). It is remarkable…truly remarkable. And all of it – all of it – stems from one simple phrase, “We, the People…”. We have a say. We get to vote.
This whole democracy thing is heady stuff. So much so that we’ve enshrined the idea (in law) that every four-years on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, we get to vote. This year it will be on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. While I personally think we should declare the day a national holiday, we haven’t gotten that far (yet) but I digress. Point is, this is the one day in the United States where every Citizen of age can vote. But let’s not kid ourselves with anthems and self-righteous saluting of ourselves. Our road to voting has been paved with foolishness. Read Benjamin Franklin when he wrote:
“Today a man owns a jackass worth 50 dollars and he is entitled to vote; but before the next election the jackass dies. The man in the mean time has become more experienced, his knowledge of the principles of government, and his acquaintance with mankind, are more extensive, and he is therefore better qualified to make a proper selection of rulers—but the jackass is dead and the man cannot vote. Now gentlemen, pray inform me, in whom is the right of suffrage? In the man or in the jackass?“
It used to be, you had to own land to vote. Not anymore.
It used to be, you had to be male to vote. Not anymore.
It used to be, you had to be white to vote. Not anymore.
And if you were a poor, illiterate, Native American, a Woman, African American, Catholic or Jewish? You could forget about voting. It wasn’t even an option. Not anymore. Gone are the days of “If you’re not ‘like us’, you can’t be trusted to vote”. Thankfully, that was then, this is now.
Or is it?
Let’s be blunt here. If you live in North Korea or Iran, voting is no big deal because voting doesn’t exist. Even if they wanted to, those folks can’t vote. Their governments won’t let them. Ask any new U.S. Citizen who came from somewhere else or how about asking the people of Egypt or Libya. They understand the perils of no-say in their affairs all too well. So you can understand why I am troubled at the vigorous efforts of some here in the United States to shrink the pool of those voting – who ever they may be. And the forces committed to restricting the ability of everyone to vote are doing so in the name of minimizing the non-existent problem of voter fraud. In my opinion, it is nothing less than profane to work so hard at shrinking the pool of eligible voters for purely partisan gain (thank-you Chris Hayes). We need everyone. My belief is that if everyone has their say, chances are so much better that we’ll get it right as a nation. Abraham Lincoln thought so and so do I.
You don’t live in North Korea or Iran. You live here. So if you refuse to vote (which is your choice), don’t let me hear you whining when ‘the other guy’ (whoever that is to you) wins. If you can’t be bothered to register, much less show up and vote, than don’t squander my oxygen by complaining ‘after the fact’. All you’ve done by staying at home is to allow someone else to get what they want for this Country. You matter more than that.
Hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens have put themselves in harms way to protect our right to vote. Many of them paid the price with their very life. They bled to death and you can’t be bothered to vote? Who are you?
If you are already registered and know how it works where you live? Congratulations! If you aren’t sure? Check and make sure you’re registered. Then vote your conscience in November.
I don’t care who wins nearly nearly as much as knowing you played your part in the United States making its choice. All being created equal, I’m looking forward to joining you around the water cooler on November 7th . As many of us can attest, there’s nothing more sobering than looking at yourself in the mirror the day after. Think about it…
Requirements for Voter Registration have changed in many parts of the Country. If you’ve voted before, you are not guaranteed the ability to do so this time around. There are any number of ways you can find out if you are registered to vote. One of the better ones is CanIVote.org. Click on the button and jump to their site. Find out. It’s your vote.
The CanIVote web site (http://www.canivote.org/) is maintained by the National Association of Secretaries of State, the nation’s oldest, nonpartisan professional association for public officials.
“Lucimarian Roberts, the mother of Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, died Thursday night at 88 in her native Mississippi, RadarOnline.com has learned.
In her life, Lucimarian became the first African-American to serve atop the Mississippi Board of Education. Robin was close to her mother and the two released a joint book, My Story, My Song – Mother-Daughter Reflections on Life and Faith, this past March.
Robin is battling a blood and bone marrow disorder called MDS and took her medical leave for an upcoming bone marrow transplant a day early Thursday, ABC said, so she could travel “home to Mississippi just in time to see her.”
My family and I extend our condolences to the Roberts Family in their time of loss.
In the wake of such a loss, we send our very best wishes to Robin as she faces her battle with MDS. Robin, your mom knows you’re going to be OK and now stands in Heaven, whispering in God’s ear, making sure you’re going to be fine. So please get better soon. We’ll be here when you come back. And in the meantime, we’re cheering for you! Dan
Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”. It may have been awhile since you listened to this so enjoy this appropriate musical reminder of the message:
HISTORY OF AMERICAN VOTING: http://www.history.org/foundation/journal/spring07/elections.cfm
HISTORY OF THE RIGHT TO VOTE: U.S. State Department – http://usinfo.org/enus/government/overview/vote.html
PHOTO CREDITS: Mirror, Mirror: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – Walt Disney (1937). See ‘Fun Fact’. Round Clown: With a a strong track record of success, Ted Blackman is currently an art director at Warner Bros animation. You can visit him (and his work) at: http://crotchetycomics.blogspot.com/2011/11/round-clown.html, Ignorance (Original Source Unknown; Secondary Source: In My Opinion – WordPress Blog). Blackboard (text by dan4kent), Benjamin Franklin by_Joseph-Siffred Duplessis: Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Benjamin_Franklin_by_Joseph-Siffred_Duplessis.jpg) This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to Australia, the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years. Rock The Vote: http://jalopnik.com/5665991/americas-next-top-car-blogger-rock-the-vote.
FUN FACT: Walt Disney’s 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre on December 21, 1937, to a wildly receptive audience, many of whom were the same naysayers who dubbed the film “Disney’s Folly”. The film received a standing ovation at its completion from a star-studded audience that included such celebrities as Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard, Shirley Temple, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Judy Garland, Ginger Rogers, Jack Benny, Fred MacMurray, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Burns and Allen, Ed Sullivan, Milton Berle, John Barrymore, and Marlene Dietrich. Six days later, Walt Disney and the seven dwarfs appeared on the cover of Time magazine. The New York Times said “Thank you very much, Mr. Disney”.
Screen Shot of Seven Dwarfs: This image is a screenshot made from a public domain movie’s trailer. Trailers for movies released before 1964 are in the Public Domain because they were never separately copyrighted.
– ## –