Much is being made of the “sleepy” election season. I prefer “civilized”. Or “restrained”. Or at least “less offensive than usual”. Yes, that last one is closest to the mark.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m not taking a swipe at democracy or our civic responsibility to vote. Nor at elections in general. Just mudslinging pundits and toxic campaign strategists intent on intimidating voters and driving divisive wedge issues between rational citizens who otherwise have a pretty good track record of resolving conflict and sustaining healthy communities.
Elections are necessary, but they tend to conjure up unnecessary ugliness.
Except when they don’t. And this year feels better than usual. I know that there are reasons, some obvious, others less so. There are always reasons. But we don’t always remember to stop and acknowledge with reality turns out better than expected. In my humble opinion, this election cycle has been better than expected.
Rather than using up your time, I’ll wrap this up so that you have time to visit the polls. But first a word on taking photos (and causing commotion) inside polling places:
There is no law against photographing inside polling places, but according to the New York State Board of Elections, causing a commotion could get you kicked out. John Conklin, a spokesman for the Board of Elections, said people are encouraged to take photos of their ballots before, but not after, voting. (HuffingtonPost.com)
Curious, right? And another tidbit, this one a bit more useful:
On Election Day, the Grange Hall will host a turkey dinner with takeouts starting at 4:30 p.m. and sit-down dining from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The turkeys will be supplied by Reber Rock Farm and will be accompanied by the usual well-loved trimmings and pie, all for $10. Kids under 8 are free. (Denpubs.com)
And last but not least, I’ll leave you with a reflection on democracy, community and the commonwealth. Neither the words nor the ideas are mine, but if they were I suspect I’d be pleased to have them quoted as often as Wendell Berry.
The great enemy of freedom is the alignment of political power with wealth. This alignment destroys the commonwealth – that is, the natural wealth of localities and the local economies of household, neighborhood, and community – and so destroys democracy, of which the commonwealth is the foundation and practical means. (Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)
A proper community, we should remember also, is a commonwealth: a place, a resource, an economy. It answers the needs, practical as well as social and spiritual, of its members – among them the need to need one another. The answer to the present alignment of political power with wealth is the restoration of the identity of community and economy. (Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)
For my part, I am encouraged by “the restoration of the identity of community and economy” that I witness in and around Essex these days. Thank you, neighbors, for voting today. And thank you too for building a healthy community.
- Election Night Dinner at the Grange Hall (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Election Day 2013 (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- A Guide To Not Getting Arrested When You Use Your Cell Phone On Election Day (huffingtonpost.com)