Monday morning, I skipped gym at 24 Hour Fitness to drop our ballots off in Portland. We had been sitting on them over the weekend and hadn’t even completed them (Edith was early on this one) until last, Friday. It wasn’t a challenge at all. Having three very small children in the house is.
Over the past few week our home, like your home I imagine, has been swamped by political mail– vote for me–he’s evil–type literature. Political messages. Endorsements. Marketing collateral. Facebook ads, TV and radio ads. Honestly, you either like the guy/gal or you don’t. You either trust him/her or you don’t. You either supported the measure based on what you believe to be true, what you read in the voter’s pamphlet or how your friends/family voted. In my district, I voted for Ben Cannon because aside from being really sharp he’s got a ton of great ideas on how to govern more effectively. His education credentials are very impressive, he’s an elementary teacher and he’s a parent. We met for coffee over the summer–we’d just moved from Fairview/Wood Village, represented by Nick Kahl. I’m happy Ben won, its the peoples victory. I met former Multnomah Co Chair Ted Wheeler via Twitter and was very encouraged w/ his thirst for learning about the issues impacting disenfranchised and Oregon’s underserved communities. Appointed to State Treasurer, Wheeler took on the fight and keeps us updated online. Another sharp guy.
Earlier today, I ran into my former chair of the Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs, Jose Ibarra who had been out all morning canvassing, doing signs, and other voter-driven election stuff. I was inspired by his commitment to our democracy. Unlike Latinos for Reform, a group that had the gall to urge Nevada Latinos to stay put. As a friend put it, “son unas mamadas.”
Voting and elections are about sending our voice to represent the people in the tough choices which make up governing and legislating. When I was a kid I was told it was like selecting and sending someone at the table to go fight and get us all a piece of cake (in the quinceñera context). Could be your tia or primo, but its someone you have confidence that will fight on your behalf and deliver.
At Oregon State one of my political science professors called politics, “the study of who gets what, when and how.” And, during my brief stint working in the political sausage making at the Oregon State Capitol I realized that our voice and engagement, our own lobbying on the issues we care about is highly needed.
It’s what makes this thing tick. Voting is what keeps our elected officials aware that we’re paying attention. It’s unfortunate as Randy Nuñez just reminded us that only half of the national electorate actually votes. I think we’re up there in the Pacific Northwest, but nevertheless, no enthusiasm gap from what I could tell and my hope is that our elected officials continue to deliver (better). Both sides.