Skip to main content

20%

20%.

That's an estimate of eligible voters who made their way to the polling booths in my town's most recent local election. 20%. That means that if that election had been a Shabbat morning minyan, 8 Jews turned over their most precious civic right and privilege to 2 people. The "good" news is that in a national election, the town might get 80% of eligible voters showing up. This is good news?

I learned this today when I picked up absentee ballot applications for my three children this afternoon. I've voted absentee in local elections - as frustrating as it was to watch my vote go up in glorious defeat once, it was very satisfying to know that my vote in a recent election might have been the one that made the difference.

But those percentages really bothered me, so I did some research.

Out of about 200 countries:
1. 23 have compulsory elections (the rest are considered "universal" or voluntary);
2. 2 have an upper age limit;
3. 4 countries do not allow members of the military or police to vote;
4. 1 country requires voters to be "literate;"
5. 1 country requires a 20-year citizenship.
6. 1 country does not permit women to vote; 1 country only started letting women vote in 2005; 1 country only allows women with an "elementary education" to vote.

People, I could go on and on about immigrants, slaves or women dying to get the vote in the United States. I could rant about countries where it is compulsory to vote - openly - for the single candidate (see: Russia, Egypt, etc.).

And you'd yawn and say, "yeah yeah there she goes again."

But come on, people - what will it take for US voting age citizen to get off their butts and get into the polling booths? How many of our rights will have to be taken away before we finally get it?

If you're not a registered voter - register now (this is the Connecticut registration application) - there is a deadline.

If you are a registered voter but need to vote absentee, get your application to receive a ballot NOW - there is a deadline for this, too, because the clerks need to send you a ballot in a timely manner so you can get your ballot in on time.

So I will say it: many of our grandparents and great grandparents would have died - literally - for the right to vote. So would all those men (and women) in countries with one candidate that you better vote for if you know what's good for you.

But you and I don't have to die for it ... just take a few minutes and make it happen.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Elul 21: The airline safety guide (Love)

You shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am Adonai. (Lev. 19:18)

You shall love the stranger that dwells with you (who will be for you like the native-born among you), as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am Adonai, your God. (Lev. 19:34)

And you shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might ... (Deut. 6:5)

If you've paid attention to your flight attendant, you know that in the event of an emergency, you put your own oxygen mask on first. Only then do you help someone next to you, including a child. Why? Because if you don't have oxygen, you're useless to anyone else.

It's the same with love.

Start by loving and caring for yourself. It's not selfish; it's just a place to start.

Then move outward: your neighbor, your community, the strangers around you.

Then, finally, the realm of God: the spiritual love that holds all the others together.

But it all starts in your own home.


Erev Rosh Hashanah 5777: WAIT

I got the best advice from my son: "Mom, why are you even engaging with these people? Please stop."

I've got people on Facebook who - while holding similar philosophies in some areas - are 180 degrees from me politically. I long ago determined that arguing with these people is counterproductive, only useful if I believe - science notwithstanding - that heartrate-raising arguments is equal to a good cardio workout.

And so my goal for today is to WAIT (by the way, not an original concept - I learned it from Rabbi Andy Sklarz): Why Am I Talking?

Provocateurs and bullies want to be engaged. They poke, someone responds, and the game is afoot. Like fire, they need constant air renewal. So if don't engage, don't respond, they will run out of air.

So for today, I grit my teeth ... and wait.


Elul 7: Choice - God, the Restaurant, and Malbec

Choices are good.
Choices are terrifying.
Choices are God's way of saying, "Hey, human, trust Me; you and I got this, and don't worry, there's no choice that can't be undone."

I'm a holy terror in a restaurant. I eyeball and dissect every possibility. I'm usually the last to order so I can see what everyone else ordered because obviously their choices are going to be better than mine. I torture myself and the wait staff: suppose I order this (and I don't like it) or that (and someone gets something better)? What if I daringly order a house-special cocktail and I really hate it instead of going with something safe, like a glass of Malbec?

Now take that food-ordering mentality and make it macro.

What if I mess up? What if I make the wrong decision? What if I disappoint myself and someone else? What if I make a choice and people stop loving me or leave me?

Here's the beautiful thing about having a relationship with the Holy One of Blessing: Unle…