Casting My Vote

I’ve spent the last few years changing directions politically.

I have always been a pretty heavy left leaner, always identifying myself as a liberal even though I rarely personally identified with the Democrats, the de facto liberal party. In my circle of friends I have played the role of the tree hugging, people hugging, justice-for-all, let-love-rule radical hippie. While I have voted for members of both parties (and third party candidates) in smaller elections, I have never voted for a Republican in national elections. I railed against Dubya and what I saw as his fascist regime. And I cried tears of joy when Obama was elected, thinking that hope and change may have, indeed, come.

Then he started appointing his cabinet and my descent into disillusionment began. That’s when I started to really examine my own beliefs about this country and politics and history. Though I have always considered myself a student of history, I am embarrassed to say that it wasn’t until then that I truly began to think critically about history and all that falls under that umbrella term. The more I read and the more I learned, the more disillusioned I became. I had bought into hope and change and all I was seeing was a lot of the same old thing.

You know, here comes the new boss, same as the old boss.

We’ve been hoodwinked, I concluded. We’ve been sold a lie to keep the rich rich, to keep the oil flowing, to keep the bombs exploding. We, the masses, have been kept complacent by sparkly distractions, manipulation and disinformation.

Feeling angry and hopeless, I began proclaiming that I was done with it, that I would no longer participate in the puppet show. I decided I would no longer vote. What was the point?

This isn’t to say that I decided to just curl myself into the corner and passively wait for the coming apocalypse. I chose to, instead, turn all of that energy inward. If my vote isn’t going to change the system, as I had naively believed, then I would change what I could from where I stood as one of the masses. I would move the mountain one pebble at a time by living a life of love and kindness and humanity and justice.

I can’t change the world, but I can change my world. I can make my little corner a better place. I can be the change that I want to see.

While born of pessimism and anger initially, this political shift I experienced has had a profoundly positive effect on my life. I do live a life dedicated to love and seeking to positively affect all around me and I am a happier person because of it. I believe that I am making the world a better place now.

This morning I walked my daughters into their third full day of school. I watched them through the window and couldn’t help but think of all that lay ahead of them. They have embarked upon their own journey into the world and each day that passes from now on they will be more their own than they will be mine. It has been a pretty significant week around here.

Their future has some dark clouds on the horizon, as do all of ours. As Americans and as human beings, we have some very difficult choices to make in the very near future. My understanding of that fact, I think, is at the root of my disillusionment with our leaders. The status quo is not sustainable, but who is going to lead us in a very necessary new direction?

Watching my girls through the window this morning I realized something else, though. Something I hadn’t thought about in regards to all of this political bullshit and all of these big-picture ideas. Something that made me see the two choices with which we are being presented in this election in a whole different light.

Before too long, my little girls will be women.

In so many ways, the choices we have for the next president of our country are no choice at all. Regardless of which side wins, the wars will continue, the bankers will profit, the corporations will grow and the people will be left behind. That’s the big picture stuff and that isn’t going to change, at least not because of any election or particular politician.

But there is at least one big difference that I can see. One side has made it very clear that a vote for them is a vote against women. That side is standing proudly and proclaiming women’s bodies are not entirely their own and something to be legislated against. They find logic in a debate over degrees of violence against women and just how much is tolerable. They find acceptable slanderous and hateful speech against half of humanity.

Theirs is not a world to which I would choose to subject my daughters. Their platform is not one that includes equality, liberty and security for the women of this country. Period.

I have lost faith in our leaders – all of them – when it comes to fighting for justice and freedom for all Americans and all members of the human race. I will continue to try to be the change that I seek rather than hold out hope that such change will come from above. A peaceful and sustainable future can only come from the foundation, from each and every one of us. It will not come from the ruling classes who have proven time and time again that their only desire is to maintain their power and wealth.

But when November comes and all of this pageantry and propaganda dies down and this country goes to the polls, I will go, too. And I will vote.

This year I’m going to vote for my daughters.


About Mitchell Brown

I am a stay at home dad with my two daughters who are a lot stronger than they look. When I'm not cooking, cleaning, dancing, reading, teaching, playing or protecting my eyes and groin, I am writing about this whole experience in all of its ridiculousness.
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26 Responses to Casting My Vote

  1. Carla Peak says:

    ♥ ♥ ♥

  2. Jamie says:

    I can connect with so much of what you have written here. I also will be voting for my girls. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Adam says:

    I share your sentiment … But realize that it comes down to the lesser of two evils . I will be writing in bug… As I feel lemon just isn’t ready.,

    • I am endlessly frustrated by the ‘lesser of two evils’ angle, as much as I understand the reality of it. I think I always knew that my withdrawal from participation was not the right answer. Thankfully, I had four years to find the right answer for me and this narrowed perspective on WHY I will vote and how I will vote has allowed me to feel more settled with my choice. The solutions to those big picture problems, though, will not come from the lesser of two evils, it will come form the greater good that is within all of us.

  4. Karl Orlowski says:

    well said Mitch. Like Monty Brewster said in 1985, “vote for none of the above”

  5. Mike says:

    Reblogged this on ranchandsyrup and commented:
    I really liked this post from my friend Mitch’s blog. If you have ever seen the cinematic masterpiece “Notorious”, chronicling the too short life of Christopher Wallace a/k/a Biggie Smalls a/k/a the Notorious B.I.G., you are familiar to the shared credo of Puff Daddy and Biggie: “We can’t change the world unless we change ourselves”. Mitch came to this realization via his own path and is living it, to his credit.
    I definitely have experienced his frustration with politics but I’m really happy that his frustration did not manifest itself as non-participation. Children force perspective. That is a good thing.

  6. vicki sherbs says:

    Mitchell, I’ve been a political junkie all of my life. And like you I have been backing off from the political scene in the last year or so because all our choices seem dreary. I watched all of both the Republicans’ and Democrats’ conventions. Yes I did! And my brain is not totally turned to mush. It occurred to me that if one spends time getting depressed and angry at the stuff we don’t like, it is really easy to see the choice as the “lesser of two evils.” This election cycle I decided to make a mental list during the conventions of the things I really liked and believed in. This enables me to vote this year for the “greater of two goods.” Blessings on all our choices! 🙂

    • Vicki, I LOVE that perspective on it all – focusing on the things you liked instead the much easier choice of finding fault. Thank you for sharing it with me. I can see that thought being a valuable one for me in politics, as well as every other part of life. As for subjecting yourself to all of both the conventions….wow. How exactly is your brain not mush? You might need to watch a couple of episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras just to decompress slowly. You know, you want to play it safe.

  7. Wolf Pascoe says:

    Raising two daughters to be themselves, without imposing agendas from outside, is a radical political act. And it’s the best way to change the world.

  8. Auntie D says:

    Keepin it real for the sistas!

  9. rancefryee says:

    True change has always occurred first within the person. We must purpose to be something, else we are nothing and someone else chooses our destiny. Life is not often ‘fair’ and we may be caught in a Maelstrom not of our making but we can choose how we act in relation to our circumstances. I think both parties are over polarized and we can seek to value all human life, there is middle ground to stand upon. I think everyday of the world my 10 yr daughter is about to metamorph into as an adult. There are many dangers that await her and I hope to teach her to make her own decisions and have the courage to stand second to no one in this life. She is valid no matter what a group of politicians or religion decrees. Unfortunately my vote for President can not be drawn down to one issue, however critical it might be. I don’t see this as the lesser of two evils but a weighted choice. I may wish that a solid third party existed that more closely aligned with my views but our system is what it is at this time. I do my part at each political level to stand for what I believe. I have taken my daughter to the Capital to work as a Page and begin learning the corridors of compromise so that she will not see life through rose tinted glasses. However active she chooses to be as an adult my wife and I will see that she has the information to think critically and walk her own path. I’m thankful that there are others who value your children and the world they receive from us.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and time. I feel incredibly fortunate that we have the opportunity to seek middle ground in so many ways, as well as the opportunity to disagree on our ultimate choice and how we get there. All of our perspectives become more valuable the more they are shared with one another, which, I believe, may be the most vital component of a truly democratic system. Thank you for sharing yours and for raising your daughter with such clear passion and intention.

  10. Pingback: I was sure I'd read more internet this week | Butterscotch Sundae

  11. daddygreen says:

    This is a great post brother. I have been withdrawn from voting for a while. I enjoy politics, always have, but I was holding on to hope for a candidate that I could fully support. I agree with certain things that both parties support, and I hate certain aspects from both parties. I have, as you said, been making my small world better. Been making sure that Rose would have the wisdom to be a free thinker, and a good person. Until reading this i never thought about it as a vote for her. This one post has completely changed my out look on everything. Thanks you.

  12. DonnaGBarton says:

    Great post and thanks to daddygreen for sharing with me. I am the mother of two daughters and have radically different thinking than yours, as I am pretty much ultra conservative, but I love that your perspective is based on what you feel is best for your daughters. Every decision I make goes back to mine as well! We may not agree on what is best for our kids, but we can totally agree that everthing we do should be based on their futures, as they are the future of this country and this world.

    • And I love that your decisions are also grounded in such a thoughtful, conscientious perspective. Disagreements are more than ok – they are vital to a healthy democracy and society, just as they are to a healthy relationship between two people. Thank you so much for reading and for sharing your thoughts with me.

  13. akismet-c3f2da9fa779a06bcb261a43b56f99fa says:

    I cannot like this post hard enough. The issues at hand for me, personally, as a woman and as mother to a future woman are to protect my rights and her rights. And what if one day my precious girl decides she wants to love another woman? In those two matters the answer has been clear for me in the matter of who I’m voting for.

    Thank you for this wonderful post.

  14. I cannot like this post hard enough. The issues at hand for me personally, as a woman and as mother to a future woman, are to protect my rights and her rights. And what if one day my precious girl decides she wants to love another woman? In those two issues, the answer has been clear for me in the matter of who I’m voting for.

    Thank you for this wonderful post.

    • Thank you very much, Mommy Boots! As much as I would love to see a politician that I totally agree with, that isn’t realistic and it isn’t inclusive of everyone else’s opinion either. Who am I to say that I have ALL the right answers? So, I will be content to vote for who I think gives my daughters the best future as women and human beings. Thanks for sharing your time with me and thank your husband for sharing my post.

      Also, I saw the clip of you on the news. You were great!

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