Yesterday was sorta like one of my semiannual teeth cleanings. The pain, relief and sense of fulfilled duty left me with both a little bit of a gritty, bad taste and a little woozy. But regardless, it always feels right to step into that booth and do a vote.
Like usual, I voted for a candidate or two that I wasn't completely in love with. But, I'm not sure I've ever cast a ballot for a politician who sees everything as I do. Heck, sometimes I don't even agree with my own positions. And on some things, I'm not sure I have an opinion - at least not one that's educated. I'm also prone to changing my mind when I learn more about a subject. Evidently, in politics, once you say something out loud you're not allowed to say something different - more enlightened or not. Knowing all that, I’d have some serious reservations before I’d even vote for myself.
… and speaking of flip-flopping. Most of last night’s winners that I heard seemed to speak very kind words of praise about their just-defeated opponents who were lying, thieving, corrupt societal menaces until very recently, when the polls closed. I wondered if I should believe their previous words or their current ones. I wondered if their next political adversary would point out their flip-flop the next time around.
For me, this time around, for the first time that I can remember, I ended Election Day feeling a little disappointed in myself. It’s not because not all of my favorite candidates won. It’s more because I felt forced to decide whether to let the end or the means make my decision. Because so many of the races and candidates where I live were so ugly and frankly, not always believable, I had to step into the voting booth yesterday and make a principled decision based on more than policy ideas. I had to judge some character. I hate judging. I don’t feel qualified to judge. I didn't make my decisions based entirely on the content of the info and ads each side presented, but on whether it could be believed, or whether it was necessary at all.
There was certainly no tingly feeling about it for me. I think I swallowed hard a time or two, wiped my brow, and even closed my eyes once so I wouldn't witness exactly what I was about to do. I walked out thinking I should wash my hands, and not at all eager to brag about some of the buttons I'd just pushed. (BTW, a bottle of hand sanitizer at each polling place would be a good idea.) It was tough, and I don’t regret my votes. And although I’m not necessarily proud of myself, I did vote.