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I Am an Absentee

30/10/2008

If you’re a US citizen, remember to vote on November 4th, or even better, vote early. This is what DH and I had to do, being that we live so far away. So we lived out the most important election of our lifetimes in the kitchen. Not very exciting, but I was silently thankful that my involvement with my government consisted of filling out a ballot with purpose, and not running for my life from rebels, militias, or fearing that I would be harmed just trying to find fuelwood and water to feed my family.

The first time I was eligible to vote, I didn’t. I was working overseas and my state didn’t allow for ballot by fax. Bill Clinton was elected. The next presidential election was in 2000, after I had spent two years working in Kenya with the Peace Corps. I voted for the first time then, and I think after spending two years working in a developing country I was keenly aware of the value and responsibility of my vote. As strange as it may sound, I felt like I was voting for many of the people in my village who don’t even get a fair say in the day to day life in their own home. This was more than just my vote.

Well, we all know how that “election” went. Luckily my state at the time did not cast its electoral college votes towards George W. Bush. And the second time wasn’t any better.

The greatest idea of all that has already come from Senator Obama’s campaign, and I hope will come to fruition with his election, is a return to the idea that we are a nation of people, not corporations: of the people, for the people and by the people. A nation where we don’t live isolated from one another, but help each other when needed as a responsibility to the health of our community. Yes, people should act responsibly, but when they don’t we shouldn’t write them off, but instead help them help themselves because it is the right thing to do.

So please, remember that voting is your right, but for many others around the world it is a right in name only. Go exercise your right and participate in our democracy.

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