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Since this column's inception, I've attempted to draw attention to the need for critical 'out of the box' thinking when making political decisions that will determine what roads we follow into a new Millennium; both as a nation and a member of a Global community.  Always stressing the need to be well-informed above all else, I've tried to employ satire, humor, and, hopefully, some provocative thought food. On occasion, I've lapsed into a revelation of some personal feelings on issues, albeit subtly. Being one of an intense nature who is passionate about my principles and my beliefs, it has often been difficult to keep the lid on my disdain, or my joy.

I'm a poll worker in Florida. Tuesday past, we had a local election. You know, one of those low voter turnout affairs with a couple of referendums that require a law degree to interpret, and the usual line up of city and county officials you've never heard of. One wonders why this couldn't have been included in the general election to take place in a mere few weeks, or in the last one just held in May that corrected some issues not addressed in the January primary election that didn't really count because they broke the rules and jumped ahead. But, that's another column – government waste of our tax dollars.

The low turn out afforded the poll workers time to be much more observant of the few voters, the party affiliations, and the independents. Florida is a closed primary state and each voter gets a different ballot depending on how they are registered. As everyone knows, poll workers are prohibited from discussing politics, or even answering questions as to the meaning of proposed referendums or candidates. However, that rule often doesn't inhibit the remarks or behaviors of the voters themselves. Comments and questions run rampant, often providing entertainment, shock, and surely, dismay.  

Florida, of course, is a state of retirees and independent business owners catering to the services of the retirees. You wanna start a lawn maintenance business? Move to Florida! It's common, therefore, for couples to come to the polls together. Rarely, and I mean really rarely, do you encounter a couple of opposing loyalties. I can understand that. Peace around the home fires is a driving force. But, in the quieter, less-rushed atmosphere of a large turnout, something else, rather shocking, shuffled its way into our awareness. And, it wasn't just me, the ardent political observer, who noticed it!

In several instances, wives would make comment to us, the inspectors, that they had no idea what they were voting for, and then with a sheepish grin . . . they just followed the edict of their husbands. I actually observed two instances where the two stood side by side at the little 'booths', nothing but a small table with side walls, no infamous curtain to pull closed, and you could hear the husband mumbling the answers as he filled in the ovals. Yes, we do have a paper trail now. Upon receiving directive, the wife would immediately comply, and the ballots were deposited in the tabulator machine.

As an independent thinking woman, and assuming all women had evolved to a level of making their own political choices since being given the cherished right to vote, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! But, what really brought it home to me was when our male clerk, upon their exit from the precinct, casually made the comment, "so much for the independent thinking woman." He was as shocked as I was.

I pondered this for two days. Then it hit me. I pulled my own idealistic head out of the sand. I thought of my own sister and my own cousin, who have no interest in politics, and who despite my often voiced dismay, I know for a fact, vote for whoever their husbands tell them is the right choice. Then, I thought of my own dear mother, who at eighty-seven years of age votes based on mindsets born out of the depression, WW2, and racial prejudices. I thought of a lady right here on this site who made comment that she wasn't happy with the policies of McCain, but had no choice but to vote for him because she was a Christian. Again, what happened to separation of church and state; the Constitutional law of the land? I thought of our own founder of Fabulously 40, Yana Berlin, who came here from Russia with expectations of the American dream and freedom. Not just for herself, but for her family. I thought of my own dear and personal friend who is Jewish, and doesn't let her faith determine her vote. And, also, of another dear friend who is agnostic but doesn't vote against a man simply because he is a Christian!

As I continued to observe the behavior of voters on Tuesday, pondered and absorbed the comments of other poll workers, and voters themselves, my own personal beliefs and principles, and then reflected on the ideals of liberty and democracy . . . I got scared! Does democracy give license to apathy and ignorance? Does democracy give the right to vote without the responsibility to vote wisely, fully informed, to think for ourseves? Does liberty give me the freedom to vote for my own self interests without consideration for the earth I reside on? The others I share it with? Are the policies of our nation, our world, and our own lives and families, being determined by huge blocks of voters with no interest in politcs, personal passions that force their compliance on all people, old and antiquated loyalties, old and outdated ideals  that simply don't apply in today's world, and the personal faiths and doctrines that aren't even supposed to be governed?


I do believe there is a fine fiber of truth that runs through all people and it is that one truth that comes from the innate soul of humanity and not the mind of fear and power. This is the truth that will hold a straight course through all the ‘holy scriptures'. I’m not a religious person in the traditional sense of the word. I am a Pantheist. I believe in Divine Energy. The label ‘God’ and it’s various synonyms, to me, are a human attempt to define this Energy; to explain what we, lacking possession of the mind of the Creator, cannot know. To me, ALL is ‘god’ for ‘god’ is simply life, ALL life. I leaned that from scripture itself when I read in the Old Testament that God declared, "God is ALL" and when asked a name, uttered, "I AM."

Based on my idea that real truth comes from deep within the psyche, not a single book, I study all the theocracies looking for that subtle and common thread and I find it there, in all of them. That God is love and God is just and that final judgment comes from how we live our own lives and what we put out comes back to us, both singularly and as a nation and as a species; now, while we are living them, not in some distant perceived paradise or eternal hell of punishment.

One of the striking things about religion and government is all the 'prophets' and saviors have been labeled martyrs. They've been shunned, mocked and often killed. In Christianity, it was the persecution of Jesus Christ and how he was accused of blasphemy when there were claims of his being the messiah or the savior. It became the challenge of the day to silence him, even if took crucifixion.  

Depending on how one defines 'savior', there have been many. Gandhi was a messiah, as was Yogananda the Yogi, and Buddha,  the prophet Mohammed, the authors of our Constitution, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Dr, King, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Mother Teresa to name but a few. They all endured in history in the end and they were all saviors in their times and for their people. All with a basically simple message of love that have had their words twisted into false doctrines and excuses for radical thinking and tyranny.

But, I saw that same kind of power exhibited in Denver, Colorado last night. I saw that same call for change, unity, and an end to divisiveness by a simple man who has a dream for hope, peace, equality, prosperity, global cooperation and unity and progress for all humankind. And it won’t be stopped but at our own peril. This is our last chance, in my opinion. That is the ‘voice’ screaming at me from my depths. It’s now or never. We are running out of time. So we will see what we choose . . . . a step toward recovery or the last plunge into what will be a painful oblivion.  

I believe what goes around comes around and occasionally we are given the chance to alter the course of destruction. Miss it and we‘re doomed. All week and before, you’ve heard the Republicans and the naysayers say that Obama is being elevated to the position of ‘messiah‘, a savior, the second-coming, our last hope. Perhaps, just perhaps, he is.

Susan Haley, Author


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Midnightmom wrote Aug 29, 2008
    • Recently, I received a mail-in ballot for local issues, and frankly, I don’t know what else. I am guilty of not knowing, by my own choice, all the things and people I can vote for. But, this presidential election is crucial.

      I have never quite understood why Christians are Republicans. Why would they be a proponent for war? It doesn’t make sense to me. Oh, the abortion issue; that I can understand, but why after eight years of Republicans is it still legal? Why is that the one issue that decides who our leader will be for everything when nothing has changed?

      I truly hope that in the heart of every Christian the bias and the realization of the truth, that abortion is a terrible tragedy yet still legal,they see the hope in a man that has served and wants to serve America, not himself.

      Good article!

            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Suzann wrote Aug 29, 2008
    • Thank you, Susan! Your article is excellent. Observant, well-thought-through, intelligent, and urgent. You made many important points, and all of them are, in my opinion, crucial. I think of my grandchildren, and I want them to grow up on a healthy, plentiful, loving planet.  

      Keep up the great work, Susan.  


            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lois Stern & Patty Kovacs wrote Aug 30, 2008
    • Susan, God bless you for having the courage and temerity to say it as it is. Great and courageous article! You should now submit it to the Letters to the Editor pages of the NY and LA times. Politics has become a dirty business. Leadership ruled by special interests divorced from the needs of the people. Our economy has eroded. Our standing in the world has eroded. Hope has eroded. When does this all end? Wake up America. If you love your country, it is time to put sound bites and prejudices aside and vote with our minds and reason.

      Lois W. Stern

            Report  Reply

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