Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy Presidents' Day

My day began with a story about a Pakistani man whose counsin had been shot and killed the night before the elections held today. Several other men running under the same party were murdered as well.

This man, whose counsin had been shot, still went out to vote today. His mother begged him to stay home... but he felt the best way to honor his cousin was to make his voice heard. He chose to vote, even though violence leading up to the elections had escalated tremendously and many polling stations were hit by suicide bombers.

I thought about that story, and the many others we did not hear, all day - which is ending as I half-watch/half-listen to CNN (my husband's most favorite station during the presidential election cycle). All the political pundits are garrulously and disputatiously discussing the incredible circumstances surrounding the Democratic primary. The race is very close; a black man and a woman are running; mud has been slung, race has been an issue, gender has been an issue; and - because of the current state of the country - people in America feel very passionately about the election and what is needed to move us forward in a positive way.

And although security has been important for each of the candidates and there are concerns that some people have been disenfranchised with regard to casting their votes... I don't think there is anyone in this country who fears they will be wounded or killed in the process of doing their civic duty and exercising their rights as citizens. Over fifty primaries and caucuses leading to what may be a brokered convention... and at some point, we will have a new president and we'll do it all again four years later.

It's an incredible privilege and hopefully something those in the U.S. appreciate when looking at the struggle for democracy, safety, and justice which occurs in other countries around the world. Although we may still fight for freedom, for justice and equity, for greater safety and cooperation... the ideals upon which this nation was predicated are embraced and celebrated in our democratic process and the vision of our forefathers continues to unfold and evolve so that every voice may be heard, every vote may count.

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