Nov. 7, 2018 — There have been moments over the last several weeks where the thought of casting my vote for a candidate or measure left me shaking my head.
I’ve spoken with several people who have told me that the the political rhetoric from both sides has soured them to the point that they would not vote in the midterms.
I understand this.
However, I have always believed that our right to vote is not merely a privilege we enjoy as Americans; it is an obligation. Most years, it has simply been a privilege as I went to the voting booth or mailed in my ballot in support of candidates or measures for different reasons.
Sometimes it was because I connected with the ideals of one candidate over another. Other times it was because I felt their vision or the purpose behind a particular measure suited our changing world politically, economically or socially.
Over the years, I have voted for Democrats, Republicans and Independents.
I even voted for Ross Perot, whatever he was. (Hey, I was young...)
In each case, voting was a privilege I enjoyed because, no matter who won, I still felt our country or state would be in capable hands.
This time, I’m not so sure as the importance of partisanship seems to outweigh the needs of those elected to represent us.
For that reason, this time it wasn't about enjoying the privilege of voting as much as it is about accepting the obligation I have, as an American and Lane County resident, to educate myself and make an informed decision — not by relying on spoon-fed rhetoric, headlines, carefully staged interviews, rants on social media or even some of the news sources that claim to be unbiased.
I had to roll up my sleeves, dig in and do the work so that, come Election Day, I could do the right thing instead of the easy thing.
It still means I will have to accept — and live with — the results, no matter who is elected to which positions or what measures do or don't pass
But to not vote would mean compromising my own ideals as an American, as well as the expectation our forefathers had for each of us when they established our right to vote in a democracy protected by the Constitution.
As I said, there have been moments where the thought of casting my vote in this mid term election has left me shaking my head. But when the votes are finally tallied, regardless of the results, I support the end result and majority vote of my community members.
Not as a Democrat.
Not as Republican or Independent.
But as Florentine, Lane County resident, Oregonian and, most importantly, as an American.
Write to Ned Hickson at [email protected]thesiuslawnews.com