Tag Archives: Election

Serenity. Now!

“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government. Except for all the others.”

~ Winston Churchill

Never have I felt such a sense of excitement on election night. And I was a newspaper reporter on some momentous election nights back in the dark ages (early 90s)! I have followed the campaign from its beginning, watching all or parts of both parties primary debates, the presidential debates and the vice presidential debate.

I wanted to hear what the candidates had to say from their own mouths, and boy, did I! Unfortunately, coverage in general of the messy campaign was more about personality than policy, but it certainly was entertaining.

Ironically, my presidential choice has no chance of making a victory speech. I couldn’t stomach holding my nose so I gave thumbs up to a candidate I could vote for instead of against (I would mention more body parts, but we’ve probably heard about enough body parts in this campaign). In Illinois, it wasn’t a wasted vote since this state’s electoral college votes were already in Clinton’s back pocket (or, perhaps more appropriately, purse). Well, my vote was no more wasted in Illinois than every vote for Trump and every vote Clinton got beyond what she needed.

More importantly, I voted at all, and by all accounts, so did a lot of Americans. Heck, my grandmother (who’s still alive and probably watching election returns on a TV with closed captioning) didn’t even have the right to vote when she was born. Voting is a privilege, and exercising that right is a duty. So seeing a big voter turnout warms the heart of this political science major.

Casting a vote, however, is not the same as making a demand. We live in a democracy, and that means we all go along with the majority (or in any case, a plurality). Which is why I end this post with a prayer I think is appropriate, given that half of us are going to be disappointed with the election results.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.


Love the land of the free enough to vote tomorrow

If you haven’t voted already, your opportunity to exercise your rights and perform your civic duty comes tomorrow on Election Day.

Make a plan right now about when you’re going to vote.

And figure out how you’re going to vote. Not sure?

Begin by reviewing a sample ballot. Type the name of your county and state and “sample ballot” into Google, and you’ll probably find one. Live where I do in Kane County? Click here.

For the presidential election, you have five choices (in Illinois anyway):

  • The Republicans’ Mitt Romney
  • The Democrats’ Barack Obama
  • The Libertarians’ Gary Johnson
  • The Green Party’s Jill Stein [I didn’t know until I looked it up that a woman is running for president!]
  • Write-in candidate

Knowing your choices might not inform your vote, to be honest. With all the Washington gridlock and negative political ads, you might have to hold your nose to vote for either major party candidate even if you did follow my advice and watch the conventions and debates. I say, “Vote anyway!” Choose a minor party candidate or write in Mickey Mouse (please note spelling) — at least you’ll register your interest in your country and your disinterest in negative campaigning. Truly, that’s worth standing in line for (that, and the “I voted” sticker).

You can leave the rest of the ballot blank if you’d like, but 10 minutes with Mr. Google will probably help you figure out how to handle the other questions and races. At the very least, vote for the unopposed candidates (they’re going to win anyway).

Got a plan? Good. Now execute it.

Here ends today’s public service announcement.

American elections give you a chance to say your piece … in peace

The greatest thing about American elections? Peaceful transfer of power.

No matter who wins or loses, the only people rioting tonight are the overly intense (and probably drunken) Giants fans leftover from last night’s World Series win.

I voted a split ticket, including a vote for a minor party candidate for governor. Almost certainly, my candidate won’t be taking office in Springfield, but that’s OK with me — I still had my say in the form of a ballot. I might be disappointed, but I don’t have to worry an armed guard will take over the governor’s mansion and put a despot in place.

Even when we didn’t know who was president for a while in 2000 when George Bush and Al Gore essentially tied, I didn’t worry that the whole government would fall to pieces. The American populace knew that eventually, somebody would take power and somebody would step aside peacefully.

I was thrilled to see so many voters at my polling place. There was a line out the door, and I waited in line 20 minutes. I sincerely doubt they all voted the same way I did, but I was proud to be among people who take their civic duty seriously.

No matter how you feel about tonight’s results, be grateful for the peaceful transfer of power. It makes America great, no matter who’s in charge.

What would you do with $2 billion?

Yesterday's treats are tomorrow's garbage on the street.

Today’s fun facts:

  • $2 billion: Amount Americans spent on Halloween candy this year, according to Parade Magazine.
  • $2 billion:  Amount spent this year on campaign advertising for all U.S. Senate and U.S. House election races, according to “Freakonomics” author Stephen Dubner on NPR’s On the Media.

To put that in perspective, that’s about $27 worth of candy for every U.S. child younger than 18 and about $15 worth of advertising for every registered voter in the United States.

Where are our values?

Too much candy and too many campaign ads both are nauseating, and here we are on the day between Halloween and Election Day, sick of both. I boycotted the trick-or-treat ritual by taking in a twilight matinée of “Hereafter” at the movie theatre, and I’m attempting to avoid campaign ads by watching “Survivor” and “Project Runway” on DVR (so I can fast forward through the commercials) and listening to National Public Radio (which doesn’t have commercials).

Is this kind of spending economic stimulus or lunacy?

Primary election is coming! Get informed!

Illinois is having a primary election in 10 days, and I have some homework to do!

Voters will be voting for candidates for the U.S. Senate (replacing that stellar Roland Burris, who replaced Barack Obama, thanks to an appointment by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich) and governor (Gov. Pat Quinn, who succeeded the ousted Blagojevich, is attempting to run on his own merits). There are dozens of other candidates, too, like state comptroller (never even heard of this office before — I don’t think they have a state comptroller in Minnesota) and a bunch of county positions and judges. Meanwhile, the highest profile thing on the ballot in Hampshire is a park district bond, mainly for improvements to Bruce Ream Park.

In order to be an informed voter you need to know:

  • Whether you’re registered (if you have a driver’s license, you probably are).
  • Where to vote (our polling location changed recently from the park district building to the fire station).
  • Which party you’re voting with (Republican, Democratic or Green).
  • And for whom to vote.

I found the coolest web site to help answer these questions for me. If you’re an Illinois voter, check it out:


Not only can see your sample ballot, but you can read profiles of the candidates and see which organizations have endorsed them (like the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper or the Homer-Lockport Tea Party — which if you know anything about your American history, then you know a party claiming roots to the Boston Tea Party is probably an anti-tax sort of group that probably aren’t big supporters of “liberal, tax-and-spend” Democrats — if that’s a hint).

Lots of people wring their hands over low voter turn-out rates, but if you’re not informed, you shouldn’t vote. Becoming informed isn’t that difficult. If there’s only one office or ballot question you care about, show up at the polls to vote for that single issue — you can leave the rest of the ballot blank if you wish (and you’ll still count as a voter).

So, get informed! The primary election is Tuesday, Feb. 2.