Sunday, October 12, 2008

Troy, Ohio

On a more positive note, this is why Barack Obama will be our next President.

I have to say, I can picture Troy as I read those words. Why? Because I grew up a couple towns over. I could walk to Miami County from my house, it was about 400 feet from my door to a corn field that was in the county. My brother was once hit by a car while riding his bike on Route 202 in Miami county, he was thrown over the county line into Montgomery county.

When I lived in Ohio I considered myself an undecided Republican. I believed in the ideas that I was taught the party represented. I was told that they were right and just.*

My mother was heavily involved in their organization in my town. My father was an Independent, if he were around today he'd probably consider himself a Libertarian. That's just a guess, though. I was a product of my environment.

I used to be far more politically motivated, back when I had free time during the day and wasn't trying to feed a family. I would hand out fliers for the Republican party. I started working the polls at 17. At that age you're allowed to work at the county elections office doing ballot collection. It's manual labor. Once I turned 18 I took over my mother's spot at the local poll serving as a judge.

A Republican judge.

I served as a judge at several elections. After the first few I served as the presiding judge, which meant that I had to pick up the equipment before and deliver the ballots after.

Every polling place I've presided at was a Christian church. That didn't strike me as being so odd back then. Now I can only pause to wonder how a Muslim or a Jew feels walking into such a place to cast their ballot.

Now I'm quite happy to be out of Ohio. Every time I talk to someone who still lives there the outlook gets bleaker. The economy there is in shambles. No one knows who to trust or where to look.

It's good to see that change is happening. People need to stand up, and stand together. It is my hope that these organizations and connections live on beyond this election, and beyond the goal of getting one party or another into office. They should grow into organizations to push ideas up the chain and tell candidates what the voters really want and need. They should become the next generation of watchdogs who are ready to defect if they aren't being represented.

For now, I'll take solace in knowing that I won't have to hear another four years of Ohio taking the blame for electing the wrong candidate.

* This is not to say that I believe that all of the Democrats' ideas are right. I've since grown up and I realize that no party can represent every idea correctly. However, in that time I've learned a lot of good reasons why some Republican policies are foolish. Also, the underlying Christian Nationalist agenda within the Republican party is something that needs to be exorcised before I could consider their platform to be viable.

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