It’s been weeks since the election, so hopefully by now we’ve all scrubbed the blue and red eyeshadow from drooping eyelids and peeled the ‘I Voted’ stickers off our jacket lapels. Our neighbors finally have muted Baracka Flacka Flame. Some of us are elated, others disappointed; but one thing is clear for all of us – it was a wild ride, and everyone’s first instinct is to simply exhale.
But a long-awaited conclusion to this race should be no cue to abandon political momentum, wherever it carries our respective lives. You’ve probably heard – if not repeated – that now-famous quote by activist Mohandas Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Considering the leader’s lifelong commitment to pacifist social reform, Gandhi’s rhetoric was perhaps more literal than popular Western reiteration might suggest. No, we’re not suggesting our readers drop out tomorrow morning to join the Peace Corps. However, we do note that armchair academia and box-checking will only get us so far. We are often divided in opinion over the President’s fulfillment of his first-term campaign platform of “Change” and “Hope,” but regardless of our feelings on any issue, we as citizens must also remember to look to ourselves as sources for progress, no matter what our leaders are up to. Real people create real ideas, and the often-seemingly small but deliberate efforts we make is what alters the course of society.
Remember John F. Kennedy’s famous inaugural address? “Ask not what you can do for your country,” he implored us, “but what your country can do for you.” And the man was right. Those ballot measures don’t write themselves, you know.
Can more invasive social contact by others indicate shrinking boundaries around our privacy?
It’s nearly 10 p.m., and you’re at home, brushing your teeth. Your iPhone starts screaming. You snap to attention, no thanks to that inherent anxiety that accompanies living as a young single woman in an urban environment. You grudgingly answer the phone, hoping to be greeted by an automated pharmacy reminder’s monotone, and not a friend needing a ride at this time of night. Instead, it’s some dude asking if you’ve heard about Prop Something for the third time and if you have a few minutes to talk. You grit your teeth and try muster up some manners.
Sound like last night? Join the club.
As you all know elections are today, November 6th. While we’re excited to be casting our ballots, we believe we can speak for nearly all in lamenting over the amount of recent “encouragement” we’ve received to cast those votes. Just this week alone, we’ve received half a dozen calls from local campaigns encouraging either a vote for a particular candidate, or a yea or nay on a particular measure (We’re looking at you, “Yes on Prop 32″-ers.) It’s a given that building support through direct contact methods like telephone calls is far from new, but we’d like to make a case for some boundaries around the use of those methods. Call us old-fashioned, but we fondly regard that old (and apparently outdated) custom of refraining from calling a lady after dark.
So you’ve registered to vote. But do you know where your polling place is? Do you even know what’s on the ballot … besides Obama?
The Cal Patriot Blog already mentioned a bit about the Berkeley ballot, but for the complete she-bang check out smartvoter.org. Smart Voter will tell you where your polling place is (ours is Westminster House, for example) and show you the complete ballot for the city you’ve registered in.
Take a good look at your ballot. You’ve got less than three weeks until the big day arrives. You can start your research now.