Although I understand the practicality of newer voting options such as having a season of voting rather than one day, and mail-in voting rather than voting at polling sites, I prefer the traditional way.
When one day is set aside for voting across the country it is marked as an important and national event. There is solidarity in that, and also a subtle pressure to participate. Voting in absentia (which I often have to do because I am out-of-state) takes the fun out of it for me. I really miss the excitement of going to the poll, proving I am entitled to vote, and pulling the levers or filling out a ballot. My preference would be to put the ballot into a box, but I will concede that.
There is another reason I don’t like mail-in voting. It is so…solitary. We need more reasons to feel united and connected, not less. It is a good thing to vote in a place physically, and with strangers, people who you may not agree with on some issues, but yet you are connected as citizens who share the same rights, responsibilities and citizenship.
“To vote is like the payment of a debt, a duty never to be neglected, if its performance is possible.” –Rutherford B. Hayes (19th U.S. President)
I don’t remember hearing about Nicholas Winton until today. From Roger Cohen’s opinion piece in today’s New York Times (www.nytimes.com/2014/10/31/opinion/roger-cohen-the-discretion-of-nicholas-winton.html) I read this:
At the age of 105, Sir Nicholas Winton is still inclined toward self-effacement. He did what any normal human being would, only at a time when most of Europe had gone mad. A London stockbroker, born into a family of German Jewish immigrants who had changed their name from Wertheim and converted to Christianity, he rescued 669 children, most of them Jews, from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939. They came to Britain in eight transports. The ninth was canceled when Hitler invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939. The 250 children destined for it journeyed instead into the inferno of the Holocaust…he raised money; he procured visas; he found foster families. His day job was at the Stock Exchange. The rest of his time he devoted to saving the doomed…There were enough bystanders. He wanted to help.
This got me to thinking about situations that need our help today and Ebola came to mind. If individuals financially support agencies that are in Africa right now serving the Ebola victims we could save lives all over the world. In some way we can be a little like Schindler, Winton, and countless other unknown brave souls who just did what they knew was right. A lot of them risked much, and some lost their lives as a result of their commitment and actions. Our commitment is not likely to cost anything of significance. Really, we can make a difference! If I had the skill I would try to start another “ice bucket challenge,” this one for the care of Ebola victims. What I can do is donate and try to influence you to do the same. All the donations go directly to the care of Ebola victims.