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Be the vote that mattered

Editorial | March 21st, 2024

By John Strand

jas@hpr1.com

What’s that you just said? “Tell somebody who gives a shit”?

Stop reading this now if you don’t care about anyone else. Don’t waste your time. You’ll only get mad. Vocal. Obstinate. Unforgiving.

You know what we’re talking about. And you know who you are.

This is a liberal rag. You already know that. A liberal rag in a conservative state. So don’t feign victimhood if you’re reading about our advocacy of people and issues you simply don’t care about. Okay?

And if your only desire is to get into a fight, go pick it with someone else. Because the people we care about care about other people. And how’s that for a commonality, a connection, a reason to listen and to respect one another?

So, cutting to the chase, what are we really talking about, anyways? It is about the national divide in these United States of America. The chasm. The polarization. The toxic fight taking shape before our eyes, day by day.

I mean it just really sucks that we look at the persons who don’t agree with us and we say and think that they are bad people, not even for any specific reasons, but because they are

The Other, on the wrong side.

How did we get here? It took awhile and it’s going to take a long time to change, one day and one person at a time. How can we do that? Where is the responsibility? And where are you? There you are, where the buck stops, in the voting booth.

Our country is walking a fine line now. It’s entirely precarious. Disturbingly consequential. Without naming names, we all can admit the national players are fomenting group behavior that could take all of us over a cliff like lemmings, or over hills some will die on.

There’s more focus on differences these days than on the common ground. There is intentional fueling of disagreements, an argument around every corner and with practically everyone you know.

That’s if you go there. Sure, others may. And others do. And others are already there. So? Does that mean you have to?

We are who we are individually from what’s in our hearts, what’s reflected in our journeys and actions, and what the results are from any influences we should choose to exert.

Ask yourself, are you part of the problems or part of the solutions? Are you as willing to build up as others are to tear down? Are you loving by nature and looking out for the greater good of all, even those less fortunate? Or are you all about you and your will and need to prevail and be right?

Our first time to the polls will be the June 11 Primary and then the general election on November 5. It’s pretty easy to vote. Each vote has the same equal weight. Every vote cast is a signal from a person who cares. When you pull the curtain and vote you are in a sacred space in this America, currently allowing free elections. But for how long? That’s up to you.

When you place your X on the spot or mark your ovals, you are representing your hopes and aspirations, your desire for a future that reflects what you think the best could possibly be, your personal sovereignty and dignity. Out of view of all. Unavailable to judgment by any.

This is not the election year to sit idly by. Not the time to be complacent and assume others care about you the way you care about yourself.

This is not the moment to submit and yield, to roll over because somehow or other, some others have convinced you that you don’t matter, that you have no worth, that you are less, that you don’t know what’s good for you.

Many people, in truth, don’t dare ask or speak up or rock the boat in the situations they are in moment by moment. We understand. Truly.

That said, pretend, feign indifference, look benign if that’s what it takes. Then in total privacy, be who you know you truly are and vote accordingly. Close the curtain and in that moment exercise your personal power as only you are able to. Vote your heart. Vote your conscience. Vote for those you care about. Vote for those who struggle. Vote for a better tomorrow.

Because despite all the noise and in the face of immense malignant power looking at you, there’s one thing no one can take away from you. Your vote.

Be the change you wish to visit upon humanity. Be it day in and day out. Be true. Be loving. Be available and be unconditional. Be part of a country moving in the best direction possible and for all the right reasons. A country for all, united as we’re supposed to be.

There will be one of two diametrically opposed people mandates after all is said and done. If you truly care, be part of the change that’s needed. It will take all of us to tip these scales and arc our trajectory toward a better tomorrow. Be the vote that mattered.

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