Rhonda's A 'Muse'-ing Rambles

Life and Times of a Busy Woman

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Get out and Vote!

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on November 2, 2008

Many people this year are speaking up about the Presidential election whereas before, politics may have been a taboo subject. I may as well put in my two cents worth.

The first writing piece I ever had published was an editorial comment that was published in the Kansas City Star newspaper in 1978 or shortly thereafter. Actually, it may have been 1979 after the election. I was full of myself back then and had voted for the first time in a Presidential election. I was in college and paying much attention to the world around me. I was incensed at the number of people around me who were complaining about the person(s) who had won the election. There were lots of comments about how the government was going down hill and the current ruling political power was ruining the country, how bad the President was, etc. This sparked a little interest in me, and just as part of a conversation once or twice, I would ask the question – did you even vote? It wasn’t ‘did you vote for so and so’ – it was a plain – did you even vote? More times than not, the answer was No, with lots of excuses attached. This led me to some research, because now I was curious about how many had voted. The internet was a distant glimmer on the horizon, so I had to research through phone calls, newspapers, books and more to come up with the answers I was desparate to find. I was shocked. The numbers were staggering when I did the math. I can’t remember the numbers, but first I started with the number of eligible voters. Got it. Then I added up the number of registered voters. Much smaller number than the eligible ones. OK, next I looked for the number of registered numbers that had ACTUALLY voted. Whoa! This was staggering. I didn’t even have to take it any farther – such as how many voted for this and that person. Just the percentages alone rocked my world. Out of all the eligible persons to vote, only a very tiny percentage (I believe it was under 20%) had actually voted and placed this political party into the ruling houses.

Then, feeling rightfully justified, I wrote a letter to the editor, quoting of course, the numbers I had researched so they would see I wasn’t just flying off the handle with rhetoric. I was full of vim and vigor (I think we called it piss and vinegar back then) and stated to the editor that he had been selecting letters to print about people complaining against the government and the current powers to be. My challenge to those other letter writers was this,”Don’t even think that you have the right to complain if you didn’t get out there and vote.” I truly felt that if you had voted, and the party you wanted didn’t win and the party in the ruling majority was goofing everything up – then, yes, you had the right to complain. Otherwise, shut up and learn your lesson.

Talk about flak! Yes, they printed my whole name, I never dreamed they would print the letter nor did I even think twice about them using my name. I was just pleased as punch that my letter took up most of the editorial page. Then the fallout of my little bomb started coming in. Insults, irate come backs to the editor and more. People actually READ that stuff and would shun or congradulate me. One of my college professors had the gall to tell me I was ignorant and shouldn’t try to speak up about things I didn’t understand. Then I asked him if he voted and he would not reply. I got lots of ‘That’s neither here nor there’ and ‘Whether I vote or not has no bearing on this conversation’. To me, that means he didn’t vote. A-hole.

Oh, and it gets better. (Or worse). My father, a Union man, perhaps even a Steward at the time, got called to task. They (Union management) actually called him in for a meeting and asked if this person who wrote this article was related to him. When he saw the name, (he hadn’t seen the editorial) and they had him read the article, he boldly told them, yes, that was his daughter. They instructed him to have a ‘talk’ with me and ‘reign her in’ so that something like this doesn’t come about again or there would be serious repercussions with his job. This was a Union that told people what stores they had to boycott if they were good union employees and wanted to keep their jobs. My mom was always in fear of being seen shopping in a grocery store that was currently being picketed or quietly boycotted. God – this was the 70’s – what were we thinking to let them bully us like that? And me, did I do what my father asked and keep my mouth shut? Well, yes and no. I had already written the letter, and I wasn’t going to make any kind of retraction. But I didn’t write anymore about that subject in a public forum. I had already said my piece and I stood by it in conversation. It did quickly fade away too, and the newspaper dropped that line of conversation. But whenever someone brought up the conversation of complaining about the current government, I still used the question, “Did you even vote?” If you did, then I will be glad to listen to your arguments and sympathize with you. Otherwise, just shut up and next time, get out and vote so that your voice will count and you have a leg to stand on.

So, here we are with a really nasty election coming up and I hear more people speaking up and talking about the virtues or failings of one candidate over the next. Instead of choosing the lesser of two evils, as it has seemed in the past few years, we are now faced with some life changing issues and a chance to exercise our ‘Power of the People’. Whatever your color may be, Red, White or Blue – if you want to complain about the rulers of our nation, then first use your RIGHT to vote; then you have the right to speak your piece.


One Response to “Get out and Vote!”

  1. ngoldfarb said




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