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Let’s Suppose Elections Mattered

Let’s suppose elections really mattered here in the USA. That I, if voting, could say confidently, “He (or she) will represent my position, will act on behalf of our ecosystem, will promote justice. That we could enter a choice, selecting integrity, someone authentic who would take the oath and initiate the entirety of nouns pushed against verbs that formed campaign promises.

If only. If only we the people counted.

And let’s suppose that voters were educated. I don’t mean credentialed, but that each registrant comprehends the material motives for invasions and occupations, understands that in order to garner support for war, there’s a necessity to create an enemy, manipulate fear and hatred, promote patriotism and nationalism. That each knows that policies perpetrated in our names have delivered disasters both foreign and domestic. That each has an awareness of the history of this country, the blood and tears of Native Americans, the horrors of slavery, babies pulled from the arms of their mothers and fathers. And then bits and pieces such as the year (1956) in which “In God We Trust” became the official motto of the US, replacing “E Pluribus Unum,” Latin for the principle: “Out of many, one.”

If only we perceived every person, regardless of race, status, gender, any label assigned to separate or alienate, equal human beings.

Insert: This morning I drank my coffee while reading a NYT article about the career politician and Zionist Joe Biden. Will he or won’t he challenge Hillary and Bernie for the nomination? (I’ve just learned he won’t.) Who cares? It is this that caught my attention:

Mr. Biden, a fierce advocate of Amtrak for his journeys back-and-forth to his home in Wilmington, Del., also noted that he had spent 80 percent of his life on the train.

That’s plenty of time to reflect (or nap) and also glimpse a slice of crumbling America. I wonder if the VP realizes his metal conveyance could well be his tomb. That the tunnels through which his Amtrak trains roar and the bridges they vibrate across troubled and toxic waters are among a plethora of infrastructure catastrophes waiting to happen.

Okay, back to voting: I remember a little story my mother told me when George W. Bush was running for president. She knew someone whose sole explanation for supporting Bush was: “Because he’s cute.” But since both mainstream political parties are manufactured and managed by Wall Street, cute’s about as good or bad a reason as any.

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Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

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