Convergent Series

learning, using & teaching metal clay, and other aspects of life

The Most Important Election….

Posted by C Scheftic on 2018/11/06

I am writing this on the morning of the 2018 “Mid-Term” Election.  Here in Pennsylvania there is no early voting: soon after I’ve posted this, I’ll walk down the block to my polling place and cast my votes.  Then I’ll head the mile over to my studio for a day of sorting my wares into the groups that I’ll start delivering to the various shows where they’ll be available this holiday season.  (I’ll be posting more about those events soon.)

But for the past few days I’ve been thinking about the claim from both sides, Democratic and Republican, that this could be the most important election [of some time-frame].  In some ways I would agree, with both, that it is.  But not entirely.

I am going to date myself here: when I was 18 the voting age was 21.  Soon after I turned 21, the voting age was lowered to 18.  I always felt a bit cheated by not having been eligible to vote during the elections in between those birthdays.  Maybe that’s part of why I’ve voted regularly since then, including even the years when I lived overseas (pre-Internet and phone-less!) and had to travel to the local embassy to apply for an absentee ballot.

I will admit that, even into my early 20s, I was still a bit naive about elections.  I did vote in both “general” and “midterms” but sometimes I felt frustrated: while I was happy with some of my choices and voted eagerly for certain candidates, in other races I didn’t really like the choices and felt forced to pick between the lesser of two … well, not necessarily “evils” but at least “less than optimal choices.”  Sometimes I was thrilled when candidates I’d voted for won; other times I tried to find ways to understand why a particular race had gone another way.

What to do?  By the time I was 26 (why that age is another story entirely) I had figured out that “the most important election” is not the General or Mid-Term ones that get a lot of hype.  It is the PRIMARY that preceded it.  That’s where the decisions are made about who will even be on the ballot in November!

Since then, whenever anyone complains about either the results of an election or the candidates on a November ballot (especially anyone who says they don’t vote in November because they didn’t / don’t like the choices) my first reaction is, “Did you vote in the Primary?”  I try to avoid getting involved in (over time, increasingly angry) arguments over the November slate.  Sure, I’m happy to have intense one-on-one conversations (i.e., not via social media) about the issues and the candidates.  But angry arguments, when people talk at each other rather than with each other, and often in mere sound-bites, don’t help anyone….  Informed and respectful debates, combined when necessary with elements of compromise, do help us all.

Whatever the results from the election-season ending today, I am going to continue my campaign promoting the idea that the PRIMARIES are THE MOST IMPORTANT elections.  Unlike the November elections, primaries are held with different rules and on different dates in different states.  So outside one’s immediate community, they are a sort of moving target.  No matter: please find out when yours are, and VOTE in them!  Extremists do, and everyone else should as well.

If you haven’t been an active participant in primary elections, they may seem a bit intimidating.  It’s often harder to find good sources of information about all the candidates; for that matter, sometimes it’s even hard to find out for sure what will even be on the ballot and who-all is running!  Don’t let that stop you. Here’s a hint: voting is not like a school exam: you can leave some slates blank!  That’s the same as what you were doing when you didn’t vote at all, except now you can at least make some progress by voting in select races to start with!

That is, if necessary, you can build up your primary-voting response slowly.  Simply pick one or two races, research those thoroughly, and go vote on them!  Once you’ve figured out the process, you can expand your knowledge, support, and voting for more races in later primaries.

And start right away.  Now!  OK, the holiday-season is coming; if you must you can wait until January, but that’s all the slack you should allow yourself.  Make it a New Year’s resolution, and stick with that one!

And NOW means 2019.  Don’t wait until 2020.  2019 may not be as “big” an election, but there will be lots of local races, and that can be an easier place to start.  School boards, city / county councils, mayors, and so on often hold their elections in “off” years.  Ease slowly into the primary-voting process by getting informed at least, and perhaps even actively involved, in races like those.  Those are important too: not only do they involve races that are likely to have a direct impact on your life right where you are, those are often used as stepping-stones to the “bigger” positions later on.  If you get to know (know about or even know personally) those folks now, you’ll be a step ahead in knowing what to expect of them when they’re ready to move up the ladder! Here’s another hint: If you don’t know what races to expect in your 2019 primary, go to the website of your state’s election services and look up the results from 2015 primaries and general elections, the year before the last (2016) general election.  While there may be a few minor discrepancies (propositions change, a few votes are held on a 3-, 6-, or even 10-year cycle, etc.), that can be a great starting point for discovering the races you can, and should, monitor.

Another reason to not wait until 2020 is that, if you’re in a state that holds its primaries later in the cycle, the decision on who will be on the 2020 presidential ballot may have been made before you have a chance to have your say.  Do not let that stop you!  Make sure you’re informed about, and vote for, candidates for the checks-and-balances seats of the House and Senate!  (I would hope that you would vote, not for the obstructionists who think balance means only opposition, but for the collaborators who are able to compromise just enough to make things work for the better for us all!)  And go ahead and vote for the presidential candidate you wished to have as the nominee, even if someone else already has the lead: that way your candidate can still have some effect on the final “platform” for that election, and the parties may get a better understanding of what folks seem to have truly been seeking with their votes. In the meantime, however, please go out and VOTE in the election that’s upon us right now, today.  If you do, or have done so already, you have my sincerest “Thanks!!!”

One Response to “The Most Important Election….”

  1. C Scheftic said

    Thanks to Penzeys for the many herbs and spices in my kitchen cabinet, and for the lovely image I included with this post.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: