November 06, 2007

Why Vote? Why Blog?

I'm a Democratic committee person in my town, which means that I'm pretty busy on Election Day. My responsibilities include helping to coordinate "get out the vote" efforts, which has gotten a lot easier since the advent of cell phones. I think I spooked a few of my neighbors by calling them about a half hour before the polls closed and reminding them to vote. "How do you know I didn't already vote?" one of them asked. Well, because we have folks who sit and watch the polls all day to make sure that everything's going okay, and one of the things we do as we sit there is keep track of who has voted. Not HOW they've voted, but whether they've voted. Because every vote does still count, at least if we do it right.

The results of any election matter, at the very least to the people who are running for office. But even if you're not "up" on the issues and don't see any significant differences amongst the candidates, voting still matters. Because it's your chance to participate in a conversation. If you feel that the conversation doesn't pertain to you, or doesn't make a difference, you can decide not to vote. But if you hung out long enough with the people who DO think the conversation pertains to them, you might get sucked in.

Blogging is a little bit like that. The internet is FULL of conversation, about pretty much anything under the sun, and you could decide that most of it doesn't pertain to you. But if there's a little corner of your life which is lit by passion, and your life out in the real world doesn't reflect that in quite the way you would like it to, you might be moved to put up a little sign on a lawn somewhere in cyberspace that says, "I'm over here grooving on this." And if you're feeling really brave (or foolish, or attention-seeking, or lonely, or curious), you might tie a Sharpie® marker to a string and hang it from the corner of your sign. Just to see if anyone has any comments.

Since becoming a blogger, I have read books that fellow bloggers have recommended, worn jewelry that bloggers have designed, and gone to art openings in the real world of artists whose work I first discovered through their blogs. I have recorded stories of my daily life as a parent that I am happy to be able to reread several years later. I have gotten good advice. I have been complimented and thanked by people I've never met. I have thought about things in new ways. I have started carrying my camera everywhere. I have deepened my understanding of activism, mindfulness, haiku, and mortality. I have become a little bit more like myself.

(Thanks to Jaxter for her inadvertent inspiration,
and this is my 501st post, how 'bout that?
C'mon back tomorrow for a shorter post.)


Cloudscome said...

I love this post. Perfect picture, that Sharpie hanging from a string. That is what we are doing, isn't it? And grooving on it! :)

I voted yesterday; Even though I haven't kept up with the issues and planned on just hitting the straight party ticket. I showed up at the polls with my two little rascals in tow. A lady politician who was hanging out on the step hoping to pass out campaign literature from the other party greeted us cheerfully. As she opened the door for me to herd my boys in she said, "you are from over on suchandsuch street, aren't you?"

"You remember us?" I gasped.

"Sure I do" she grinned.

poet with a day job said...

Great post, and a good way to look at voting, since it does, so much of the time, feel like a sham: it can bring people together...and if joining the conversation is what you want, voting is another way to get it.


polka dot witch said...

i love this post. it reminds us of the effort it takes to sort through everything vs. just ignoring it all. but then it also reminds us that we do it every day in many areas of our life.

p.s. did you need my password again? someone asked me and i can't remember who ... email me

Nancy Bea said...

Hey Shel, Congrats on But Wait! reaching the half century mark: I lift my diet coke in a toast to your wonderful blog!

Enjoyed the voting part of the post (yes,I voted too, of course!) and also your thoughts on blogging helping you become more yourself. SO TRUE!

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