Some Meditations Before You Vote

By Stuart S. Light
Stuart S. Light is a writer in Santa Barbara.

Los Angeles Times

October 31, 2004

This campaign season has been marked with a high degree of partisanship and rancor in the discourse leading up to Tuesday's presidential election. Both sides, armed with focus groups and experts, have crafted messages gilded with oversimplifications and spurious "facts."

Logic, common sense and truth scatter like dust before the powerful and well-financed marketing machines roaring across the landscape. My advice? Take time to reflect on what is truly important, and let your own intelligence and compassion guide your decisions.

Here's some food for thought before you vote:

•  Democrat, Republican, Green, Independent, Libertarian, left, right, center, liberal, moderate, conservative, rich, poor, gay, straight, black, white, brown, male, female, pro-life, pro-choice — we're a mixed bag, but we're all Americans.

•  No individual, party or ideology has cornered the market on truth or God's blessing.

•  Dying soldiers in all countries call for their mothers with their last breath.

•  Any child killed by war, poverty, abuse or neglect is one too many.

•  Fear is our worst enemy. Those who would scare us are not our friends.

•  9/11 was a tragic event. But everything did not change. The sad fact is, too much has remained the same, or gotten worse.

•  Killing innocents in any war dishonors those who died on 9/11.

•  Those most distant from a conflict are always the ones shouting loudest for war.

•  War is almost always a tragic detour from the more difficult road of peace.

•  Anyone who impugns your patriotism for exercising your constitutional right to free speech is not a patriot. In a true democracy, all points of view are valued and heard.

•  Love is the core value of the Islamic, Christian and Jewish faiths. Only love and understanding can bring the peace and security all good people of the world desire.

Every vote counts, and every vote should be counted.