I voted today, you should too!

I don’t plan to write about politics often, religion is messy and divisive enough, but incase you’ve been living in a cave or under a rock for the last two years, Nov. 6 is election day in the United States. We are voting for someone for the office President, a few senators and representatives’s seats are also up for grabs. Local and state elections are happening as well. If you are eligible and registered to vote, I strongly urge you to read up on the issues and candidates and go vote!!!

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I voted today (absentee ballot) you should vote too.

I’m not going to share who I voted for, but I am going to share some thoughts about the process and how I came to my decisions.

1) I know the Presidential candidate I voted for is going to lose, and lose big. I decided not to vote for either of the two main parties because they don’t represent me, or what I’d like for leadership for our country. My third-party vote was not “giving” a vote to the opposition, that implies I was going to vote for one of the big two and was swayed. I voted third party because we need another way. The two main parties run to appeal to their fringe groups and then rush to the center and it doesn’t work. I’ve had enough. My vote, while it is going to someone who is going to fail on an epic scale, is a vote of protest. I don’t have time to stand on the street corner with a sign, but I do have time to vote, and occasionally write a politician to voice my dismay.

2) I find it ironic that the state assembly person claiming to be “environmentally friendly” is the one bombarding my mail box (upwards of 10 mailings now) with high-production cost, 2-3 page, full color glossy mailings. If you really want to “protest our open space, coasts, ensure we have clean air and water, and preserve our agricultural land” perhaps you should start by cutting back on your own carbon footprint and the amount of junk mail you’re sending me. Full disclosure, I recycle all his mailings – except the one I set aside so I’d remember his name so I’d know to vote for the other guy (not sure who he is, he didn’t mail me anything).

3) There are two city council positions open in our small town this year. Any candidate who has not bothered to stop by my home and speak with me personally has been dismissed as a possibility. Any candidate who is openly and actively supported by the local crazy woman is also off my list of options. Then there is This Guy. He came by the house (he spoke with my husband, I was out at the time), he’s not supported by a local crazy (although he is supported by the other council person that I dislike), and he has a 7-point plan to “support our local business community.”

  1. Store owned by my neighbors (my neighbors don’t all own their own houses, much less their own stores)
  2. Employees who are my neighbors (sorry, they don’t want to work retail)
  3. Knowing the people behind the counter (I know several of the people behind the counter because I shop at the same places day after day, I’m OK with not knowing where they live, that’d be a little creepy)
  4. Knowing that my neighbors receive fair wages and benefits (I’d hope so! They have HOA dues to pay.)
  5. Shops that feature local products (other than food, what is locally produced?)
  6. Local businesses that return at least three times more of my money to our town (businesses need to hold on to some of that money for themselves so they can grow and hire more people)
  7. The feeling of satisfaction that I get knowing that I am part of a vibrant community that supports local businesses (yeah, I’d like that feeling too, how do we go about doing this?)

Feel good yet?

Hey This Guy, what fantasy world are you living in? Our town is only about 7-8,000 people, ok, so it serves the surrounding area of about 30,000, but most of the “in-town” people are retired, on limited incomes, and not likely to be spending money on much other than groceries and prescription drugs. The elderly complain when new housing is built so that younger families can move into the area. They dislike change.

My neighbors are the hard working lower and middle class, young families, and single women. We don’t own shops, and we’d rather not work retail or waitress. Beyond some local farms (outside of city limits), a few vineyards (also outside of city limits), and a few artisanal cheese makers there isn’t a lot that’s produced locally that isn’t food. I already buy food locally and I tend to favor locally grown foods over imported ones (unless I want strawberries in December, then they come from Chile).

The things I/we want/need:

  • diapers (not locally produced and soon I hope to be done with them!)
  • children’s clothing & outdoor layers (not locally produced, locally available at consignment stores for almost what it costs new – I’m picky and shop on sale); children’s shoes (not locally produced, rain boots are purchased locally)
  • lumber, paint, tools and hardware (not locally produced, sometimes locally obtainable at inflated rates)
  • clothing & shoes for myself and my husband – I am not the target market for the local clothing boutiques (French thrift store cast offs, high-end “fashion,” flowy skirts and tunics from Tibet, vests/jackets/scarves that look like they might’ve been sourced from Talbots or the Pyramid Collection). No thank you.
  • groceries, often locally produced, usually locally purchased (although sometimes I go to the town over and visit Trader Joe’s or Costco)
  • fabric & craft supplies, not sure if there is a local place that offers them, haven’t really looked because there’s a Michael’s and a JoAnn fabric the next town over and for one-stop fabric and craft supplies they’re usually better stocked and better priced than anything local
  • computer stuff
  • the occasional appliance, which usually comes from Sears, I don’t think anywhere local offers appliances
  • healthcare & glasses (our optometrist is local, as are our primary care physicians, there is also an ER, the kids pediatrician is in the town over)
  • other assorted stuff (obscure books, gifts, etc.)

What can I buy locally? Aside from groceries main street is lined with little boutiques. I don’t need minerals, I don’t need art, I don’t need purse, or a shawl made in Tibet. I don’t need another tea pot, or a dozen different kinds of tea. I don’t need a fertility goddess, or imported rug.

Would I like to buy more locally? Sure. Is what is being offered locally stuff I need? No, and the stuff that I do need (other than groceries) is being sold at an inflated price. I don’t want to pay $8 for 12 oz. of spray paint when I can combine my errands and go one town over and spend $4 on 16 oz. of the SAME spray paint. Do I think This Guy’s plan is going to succeed? No. Most of us can’t shop locally, the prices are too high, the goods are not what we want or need, and the city council wants to increase the sales tax again. Really? I’m shocked any small retail business manages to survive.

4) There is a proposition on the ballot supported by Dr. Mercola (you can google him, he’s a regular feature on QuackWatch), that alone is enough for me to vote against it.

5) There were several other propositions on the ballot as well, both COPS and the ACLU sent out notices with recommended voting. When they both agreed, I voted they way they both recommended, when they disagreed, I hauled out the voters guide and read over it again. I try to be informed, and if I have to vote on 10-12 different propositions all written in legaleze I start to wonder if the system we have of propositions is that good an idea.