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Why I'll Vote on Tuesday

I have to admit it. I’ve been totally grossed out by the political chaos that has flooded the United States this fall. I stopped watching the Daily Show, gave up on reading New York Times editorials, and ignored big speeches by our President.

But last week, my wife and I watched the Ken Burns documentary on the American Congress. If you have not seen it, the film takes you on a two hour trip from the very beginning of the American Government until the mid ‘80s. Frankly, it’s a frightening journey. The Revolution, the Civil War,Civil Rights, the Bosses from the industrial revolution. Such a peril filled fight from the very beginning.

But somehow, hearing Woodrow Wilson say “the government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy,”  was not depressing, it was encouraging. After all, workers were protected and new laws passed on monopolies. Government governed, and it got some things right.

After the film, my wife and I walked slowly home, passing through the block of arboretum-like State Capitol grounds in central Columbia. We stopped to join a rally being held at the Capitol building to support Gay teens who were being/had been bullied and abused. As my wife and I stood holding rapidly melting white candles, trying not to let wax drip on our shoes, I was struck by the hundreds of South Carolinians who had turned out for the event. In fact, the building itself had been transformed, as rainbow streamers covered the front and purple lights glowed on the tall bank of white marble stairs.

This is the same building that my family and I marched on ten years earlier, in protest of the red Confederate battle flag flying over its dome and hung inside its Congressional chambers. Ten years later the flag is down and rainbow banners cover the stairs. Not bad.

So I’m slipping out of my burnout, like a snake slipping an old skin. I’m not delusional. I don’t expect change “I can believe in” to happen overnight. The United States is in a perilous place, fighting two wars,dividing ourselves at home, and facing a national bankruptcy. But! We have been in similar places before. We still exist. I’m part of this crazy system and on Tuesday, I’m going to vote. 


It is one right to cast for his or her vote, because it might be your vote that could change your country. - JustFab

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Mark has been working in higher education for over 15 years. He has served as a professor, a dean, and a college president. He has consulted and taught in over thirty-five countries.