Okay. I have always declared that my blog is not a political blog. And it's not. Really, it's not. But today I'm breaking my self-imposed rule because I cannot stop myself from writing about politics.
I have to say that as much as I enjoyed watching the Olympics for two weeks, I have enjoyed even more watching the Democratic and the Republican Conventions. They have been riveting television to me. I can't get enough. I watch them. I listen to all the speakers - not just the main candidates. I record them and watch them again. I listen to commentary from conservative and liberal pundits. I read newspapers and online news services. I talk to anybody who wants to talk about it with me. I absolutely love it.
I will go on record as saying that I am a passionate conservative. I hold to no political party. I do not vote by party lines. My vote goes to the person I am most inclined to loan my power to. Because to me that is what voting is. Loaning my power to somebody I trust to do with it as I would. Sometimes that person has an elephant by their name. Sometimes there is a donkey sitting there. Sometimes there is no animal at all.
I believe that voting is a sacred and precious privilege that many young men and women have died for. Many women have lost their children, many wives have lost their husbands, many children have lost their dads so that I can choose whether or not to get myself out of bed and head down to the voting booth. I do not take their sacrifice lightly. No one should. To me it is dispicable to think that a person would choose to not exercise their right to vote. But it is their right. There is a lot of blood in the ground to prove that to be true.
I have three things to share about our political process that I think can make the whole election season an easier and kinder event.
1. Listen to both sides. No matter what side you are on you can only benefit by listening to both sides. I think we should try to spend more time finding the things we agree on instead of accusing each other about what we don't. We are all people who love our country. We all want what we believe is best for our families. By taking the time to listen, really listen, to why other people believe as they do, we become enriched, more knowledgeable, and easier to get along with.
2. Don't let others do your thinking for you. Don't just be a sponge that soaks up what other people believe to be true. Research issues yourself. With the internet today you would be surprised how easy it is to do. Search for information that comes directly from the source and not just a pundit's mouth. I listen to a lot of news. But I listen to both sides. And I don't believe everything I hear.
3. Be passionate - but back that passion with knowledge. There is nothing worse than listening to somebody spout off with intense emotion but not be able to answer a single intelligent question. It negates everything they say they believe in.
That's it. Three simple voting rules to live by.
There was one political event this year that I have the utmost respect for. It was Rick Warren's Saddleback church Civic Forum. I thought the format was absolutely brilliant. I thought Pastor Warren showed the utmost integrity by not presenting his viewpoint or adding any spin to the answers. The candidates were given unknown, very tough questions to simply answer in front of an audience and a camera. It was obvious that some of the questions startled them. I learned more about our two main candidates in this forum in two hours than I have learned about them in the last four years. If you missed it - try to find someone who recorded it. It was truly amazing. Until I saw it a couple of weeks ago, I did not know who to loan my power to. After I saw it, I knew exactly who I would loan my power to. And he is going to have to continue working to keep my faith in him. I will be watching him very closely to make sure he does not abuse the power I loaned him.
And because I just can't seem to stop myself today, I have four more words to say:
Sarah - you go girl!