Sunday, November 2, 2008

A weekend worth celebrating

“Right, but if I want to vote yes on funding a school program and my vote gets canceled out because someone who didn't even vote automatically turned into a 'no' vote, I would be pissed. How does anything get passed?”

“I philosophically believe in mandatory voting and this compels people to vote if they don't want their vote to be automatically a 'No' vote.”

“I do too, but an apathetic person isn't going to be motivated to vote because of this majority quorum rule.”

We had quite a heated debate this morning as we worked down our Oregon ballot, regarding one measure in particular. For each measure, we voiced our views and were often enlightened by what the other saw in potential short- and long-term implications of the measure. We certainly benefited from the other's experiences and areas of expertise. And, it just felt great to sit down with the descriptions of the measures, information on all of the candidates, and our ballot, to make our decisions.

“I feel like this is the most informed voter I've ever been,” Ben remarked. I had to agree.

While we usually agreed about whether we thought a particular candidate or measure would be a positive choice, our reasons were sometimes slightly different. We also didn't always select the same candidate or response to a measure, but felt good in our individual decision, having heard another's argument and read the information available to us.

It took us quite a while to finish our ballots, but it was definitely worth it.

I took a picture of my ballot, in particular the place where I voted for Obama for president. It is a historical moment.

And, I'm not talking about potentially electing the first African American president of the United States.

I'm talking about voting for someone I believe really gets it. I always used to say that anyone running for president should be required to have degrees in the humanities: psychology, anthropology, cultural studies, sociology, etc. They should also have been immersed in the culture of another country at some point in their lives to the point where the culture becomes second nature and they think and dream in that country's native language. And, they should know what it's like to feel in need of emergency care and have to make the decision of whether they go not based on their symptoms, but based on what they can afford to pay this month and how they are going to get there without an hour-long bus ride.

If you don't truly understand humanity, how do you effectively make humane decisions? How do you relate well with other countries when the only lens through which you have to view them is your own? When you never saw a need to worry about the budget at home, how do you properly prioritize funding?

As we've seen over the last eight years, you don't.

For example, anyone who understands human nature, has read a few history books, and has a bit of understanding of cultural relevance could have predicted the state of Iraq today. What happens when you remove a dictator from a dictatorship that has been in place for decades? Fear, uncertainty, and, oh yeah, mass chaos. The Bush administration thought we could go in, take out Saddam, implement 'democracy,' and the people would be grateful, happy, and peaceful. Why wouldn't they would adopt our 'american' way of life without hesitation? - was apparently what they were thinking. The Bush administration apparently knew nothing about the strength of tradition and culture.

I will have to keep from going on a tirade here.

As mentioned in one of my recent posts, Ben and I attended a big Halloween party this weekend, hosted by a friend of mine.

She was the spitting image of Sarah Palin, shotgun toting and everything. Oh, and of course, the Joes were there, along with Cindy McCain. In addition, there were jazzercizers, a rubik's cube, Angelina Jolie (with her 10 children), and, of course, a clothesline!

We also celebrated our anniversary this weekend, having 'dated' for a year. It feels like it's been mere weeks, in terms of how quickly the time has passed, but it also feels like we've known each other for all our lives.

We didn't really even 'date.' We just continued our lives, but together.

The start of that life was a walk along the waterfront park, on a Friday evening. We met around 5:00, just before it started to get dark. We had been having a week of sunny, warmish fall weather that week, so when asked for a 'date,' I suggested this low-pressure, low-stress activity.

He was coming from work and I was coming from a meeting at school. I remember spotting him a few yards away - he was wearing a white button-down shirt, un-tucked, with a pink tie. We started talking and, before we knew it, we had walked the entire 2.8 mile route.

So, we went to dinner so that we could keep talking.

And, as you can tell by this morning's ballot discussions, we haven't stopped talking since. (Sometimes, admittedly, I have to remind him he is preaching to the choir, but that's another story).

We liked our cheese, wine, olive, bread meal from my birthday so much we both suggested doing it again this weekend to celebrate our anniversary. (And then laughed at our seemingly joined brains).

So, no recipe this time, but more to come this week!

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