Lifting the fog

The morning sky and the Sanibel west Gulf beach.
March 15, 2016 -- As I drove to the polling place, the fog was thick and metaphorical.  I could see hundreds of feet ahead of me, so the driving wasn't dangerous, and I sure do know the road well.  I could be certain of how to vote, but I don't have a crystal ball and so don't know what the long-range outcome will be.

I studied and considered, and I voted for a candidate.  I voted for clean water in the bayou.  I voted for the health of the dolphins and manatees we watch every day.  I voted for the health of my fellow citizens.  I voted for a government that is not wasteful and not meddling.  I voted for responsibility and compassion.  I voted for security and freedom.  I voted for a more peaceful world and a more balanced ecosystem.  I voted for prosperity for all, not just a few.

I'm not going to tell you for whom I voted.

I'd gone out to vote before breakfast; I couldn't wait.  Voting was the most important thing I'll do all day -- all week.  I was the only voter in the polling place at the moment, but Facebook told me that my friend Carolyn must have been there before me.

After having voted, I left the polling place and drove directly to the nearby cafe for breakfast.  After having voted and dined, the fog had lifted.  I felt hopeful.  I did not want to be fearful about the months to come.  I want to be hopeful, and so I am.
Beach sunflowers in our garden.
Politics shouldn't be dirty; politics are how we elect our leaders.  Our leaders make decisions that affect our lives, our surroundings, and our opportunities.  If we denigrate everyone with political aspirations, who will we end up with on the ballots?  If we don't respect and admire people's desire to spend their careers in public service, how will we get good people in government?

As I was about to leave the polling place, one of the poll workers stopped me to ask when I'd be running for city council.  He reminded me that he'd be my campaign treasurer.  That's no insignificant offer, for he is a retired IRS official.

I smiled and said, "Probably not anytime soon."  I explained that my husband had been seriously ill this winter, although he's fine for now.  Predicting the future is a murky business, and city council is a long, four-year commitment.  He asked about my husband's health, and he seemed quite genuinely concerned.  I thanked him for asking and for the kind words.

But I'll admit that this uncertainty about the future is not the only factor that prevents me from running for office.  The nasty words and gross generalizations that so many people have for "politicians" give me great pause.  Although people generally think I'm cool, calm and collected, those who really know me know that I do not have thick skin.

But I do care.  I care enormously.  I care about the people and the wildlife here.  I will help any candidate who cares the way that I do.  I have, and I will.  That's just good politics.  That's how to remain hopeful.


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