Today is the day we go vote at our local polling precinct. Although early voting is available as an option, Naomi and I have preferred to vote on election day as a sort of nostalgic solidarity with other voters around the country. Some may consider this sentimentality to be misplaced, but the right to vote for local and national leaders is a right deserving of an inconvenient ritual. This in not to say that those who voted early value it any less. It's just that we express its value to us in this manner.
According to television and radio news sources, voters appear to be turning out in record numbers. This is good. However, it is hoped that these voters are all conscientiously voting from knowledge and understanding, not by emotion and whim. It would be regrettable for people to vote for their favored candidate(s) because of something as superfluous as skin color or mere oratory ability. Yesterday, as I substituted in at local Christian high school, I broached the subject of politics and the pending presidential election. The symphony of ignorant responses left me alarmed for the countries future. The fact that the not-well-thought-through political opinions came from Christian teens and skewed to the right was hardly any condolence.
"Obama's a Muslim," came from many. "He's the anti-Christ," asserted others. "We should elect a Christian," came out here and there. How frightening to think that if these teens did not come up with this tripe on their own, they must have heard it at home. There is little mystery among those who know me how politically to the right I lean. Nevertheless, I find it frustrating to hear that the next generation of voters are likely non-thinking ones (whether liberal or conservative). For this reason I don't find political conversations as satidfying as I used to. When the person I'm speaking with degenerates into an emotional string of partisan sound bites, I know that the mind is no longer engaged to the mouth. This is can be as true with Republicans as it often is with Democrats, and I find it wearisome.
Having said that though, it must be acknowledged that this election appears among the more important of any in recent times. The candidates espouse drastically differing visions of the country's future. Regrettably, one vision or another will be empowered by voters who are acting more by passion than by wisdom. I have a desired outcome for today's election, but I also desire civility and reflection among those who participate in electing leaders. In this regard, I wish the future seemed brighter.