An Honor and a Privilege

One of the things I like most about blogging is the opportunity to express myself, to make my voice heard. About two and a half hours ago, I expressed myself in a different way, again making my voice heard: I voted.

Ever since I was old enough to, I have voted in every presidential election, most primaries, and quite a few (though not all) local elections in between. I still get chills down my spine standing in line waiting to vote, or when I’m about to submit my ballot.

Another thing that amazes me is that since tonight was a primary election, there were two groups of people there–Democrats (like me) and Republicans (like my wife). Even though we disagree passionately about issuesthat have caused bloodshed and violence elsewhere, tonight these two groups of people simply registered their opinions on a ballot, smiled politely at one another, and went their separate ways. No killing. No fighting. Not even any spirited yelling (we save that for the conventions).

While I’m often dismayed at the number of people who don’t vote, I understand. It is, after all, their right not to do so. But those who don’t will never know the feeling of being part of a larger whole, while retaining a distinct individuality (unless they blog, of course). They won’t experience the knowledge that their one little vote counts just as much as the president’s. That the vote of the poorest man carries equal weight with the vote of the richest man. Or that they participate in the same time-honored act as did George Washington, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr. before them.

Voting is a paradoxical experience–both humbling and at the same time empowering, both magical yet practical, unifying and dividing. Most of all, though, it is an honor and a privilege I hope I am always grateful to have.

See How the Mighty Have Fallen

Saturday I thought I was really cool for typing on my infrared keyboard into my wireless connected palm pilot. I’m doing it again, but this time at my house, and out of neccessity instead of a desire to show off. Why, you ask? Because AC power connection socket on my laptop is cracked, rendering my only home computer effectively useless. Well, not totally useless–it’s holding down some papers on the desk. Now this little keyboard and minute screen seem more annoying than cool. Thank you, God, for teaching me humility–now stop laughing at me and send someone down to fix my computer!

Live from Olive Garden

Ok, I just couldn’t resist. I’m sitting here in Olive Garden with Amy and two of our friends, Alice and Darrell. We just ordered, and (as always) people are giving me strange looks. I don’t know why I get such a kick out of blogging from unusual places–I guess I’m just a big, happy, techno-geek. So, what’s for dinner? Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo for me, Fettucine Alfredo for Amy, Seafood Alfredo for Alice, Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo for Darrell. Isee an “Alfredo” theme here somewhere…
We played miniature golf earlier this evening–it was a beautiful sunny day outside, and made all the more beautiful by the fact that I won! Of course, Alice said that since she had the highest score (in golf that’s bad) she must have won. Nazir, where were you when I needed some real competition? The waitress just complimented me on my technological setup here–maybe she just wants a bigger tip. Alright, at this point, my wife is giving me that look that means “you’re being rude and we’re with company” so it’s time to go. Bloggers of the world, enjoy your dinners–Arrivederci!

Round Two!

Allow me to start with the words of a true progressive, visionary, and someone who I guess must be just as plugged into the matrix as I am: Howard Dean, in his concession speech, closed by saying “Although my candidacy for president may end today, the most important goal remains defeating George W. Bush in November, and I hope that you will join me in doing everything we can to support the Democrats this fall.”

So Annie and I both were moved by the ’92 election, as were many others of our age and background–but from there we took different paths to achieve that vision in the world around us. Ispired by Gore’s ideas, Annie worked, and continues to work for progressive programs to help make those dreams become reality.

While I fell in love with many of the ideas espoused by the Clinton/Gore team, what really moved me was the fact that one charasmatic individual had the ability to reach out to the masses through the medium of politics, and inspire thousands of Annies to action.

That’s why we both liked Dean. And Kennedy (both of them). But without the pulpit of a viable candidacy, the ability to effect actual change diminishes. I believe that “pure” inspiration without action is noble, but best expressed through art, music, poetry, and literature, whose purpose is chiefly to inspire and generate new ideas, new discussions.

History is replete with imperfect men and women who found themselves at the right place and time, and rose to the occasion to become great leaders. John Kerry, since he is now the presumptive Democratic nominee, may be an imperfect vessel, but I believe his message will eventually transcend his limitations. The difference between Kerry and Bush is that if given an opportunity, Kerry may prove to be a great leader. Bush has already proven he is not. Voting for Kucinich, Sharpton, or Nader, is voting for someone who might have leadership ability, but will never have the opportunity to put it to use. A bird in the hand is worth two in the “bush” (pardon the pun). We may wish for a a perfect leader to arise, but in the words of a friend of mine, “wish in one hand, spit in the other, and see which one fills up first.”

Dean was unwilling to be anyone’s yes-man. That was an “idealistic” strength, but a “political” weakness. Remember, Terry Mcauliffe is where he is because he in turn was Bill Clinton’s “yes man.” Because Clinton was the president. Kerry won’t be a yes man once he’s sworn in–not to Terry Mcauliffe (who will then technically be employed by Kerry), and certainly not to the corporate tycoons Bush owes allegiance to. The six giant corporations alluded to would just love it for disenfranchised dems to ally ourselves with so-called “progress” in the guise of an unelectable candidate who will guarantee them four more years of Bush. Politics, and life, in the end IS all about shades of gray. It’s the right wingers who would have us believe everything is black and white.

Back to Kerry. Look closely when he speaks, and you’ll notice the guardian angel standing slightly behind him and to the “left,” carefully guiding his actions and words. That’s right, good old Teddy–never a voice for the status quo. I don’t believe Kerry will simply put a Democratic spin on existing Bush policies. True, I don’t think he’ll be a revolutionary, either, but allowing Bush to be re-elected just to pin him with the blame in the History books is wrong. Don’t screw America at a crucial economic juncture just be able to say, “we were right, nyah, nyah…” Clinton balanced the budget and produced a surplus in eight years–no one expected that from him. I refuse to trade the hope that Kerry may do something good for the certainty that no other candidate will.

Quick Idea…

Didn’t blog last night, and don’t have time for much of one tonight, but here’s a quick idea I had–might be fun. Richard got a comment on his blog the other day from a complete stranger. Probably someone who found him through weblogs.com. Anyhow, she has a blog too–she’s a college student from Washington state. I checked out her blog, and it’s pretty interesting, but no comments on it. So heres my idea: Let’s blog the heck out of her! Post some comments, comment on each other’s comments, like you do here. At the very worst, you might scare the heck out of her, at the best, we might make a new friend–after all connecting with the outside world is really what this internet and blog thing is about!

Live, from Cinemark Theatres…

I’m sitting in the movie theater waiting for “Cold Mountain” to start. I’m such a nerd–but I love that with my wireless keyboard connected to my Palm Pilot (which is connected via bluetooth to my cellular phone, which connects me to the internet and my blog) I can actually do this…Isn’t technology amazing? Of course, I’m getting a few weird looks, I’m sure. At least I’m not being annoying talking on a cell phone. Amy just leaned over, gave me a kiss and said, quite sarcastically, “It’s so fun to go out on a date with you, and spend time with you.” Then she read me transcribing her speech, and subsequently elbowed me. Then tried to hit my delete key. I think she’s jealous, so I’d better stop soon, and go back to making fun of the stupid advertisements they play before the previews (which are now also frought with advertisements). Did you know that Rob Lowe, Charlie Sheen, and Sean Penn were all college roomates? And that Diane Lane made her professional debut at age six? Do you even care? If you’re anything like the movie-going masses around me, probably not. Oh, and in Hollywood, when a movie is done shooting it’s “in the can.” These movie trivia facts have been brought to you by Coca Cola and Cinemark Theatres. Well, the movie should start in a few minutes–with any luck, I’ll post a review later on tonight.