I love elections. Being able to have a say in who our leaders will be is wonderful, and I feel blessed to be a part of it. The experience at the polls is exactly what elections should be all about. You get to see your fellow citizens, generally who are kind and full of the camaraderie that you are both helping to shape the future.
Workers at the polls always make me smile. Here they are giving of their precious time, some for several hours every day, for the next few days just to give me a chance to have a voice. They don’t care if I agree with them or not; rather, they believe in the process, in our democracy. I hope every person who is eligible takes this opportunity and votes.
As wonderful as voting is, I am no stranger to the fact that for many, this election will bring some level of disappointment, especially if you have knocked on doors, made calls, raised money, wrote the paper and ranted on Facebook, only to find that the majority still doesn’t feel as you do. Having been there many times, and certain to be there again, I write to you, the disappointed voter, with a little heartfelt advice.
1. Be open to the possibility that you are wrong. I have voted for politicians and issues that end up disappointing me, realizing only in hindsight that the choice was incorrect. I have also failed to support candidates who end up being excellent. Those you opposed may surprise you.
2. Don’t let the loss deter your involvement. Voting is only one way to be involved. I believe you will find that you can have more influence on the city and issues if you will get engaged in positive causes that come up outside of the election. In fact, my hope is the candidates take the lead in this regard. As long as I have been involved in Boulder City politics, I have heard and seen Cam Walker and Kiernan McManus’ names involved in many city issues. I hope, win or lose, John Milburn and Warren Harhay will be equally engaged outside of the election seasons.
3. Support the people’s chosen leader. I believe all four candidates are good, honest men who desire to serve their town. If you think differently, get to know them. You will do more good for this city by working with them than by working against them.
4. Great minds, good women and good men support both sides of the issues and candidates in any election. Seeing both sides and seeing the positive sides of issues and candidates we disagree with can greatly temper the sting of loss.
5. Elections are not permanent. Every sports fan who cheers for any team other than Alabama football is familiar with the expression, “There’s always next year.” Those who try to get you to vote on fear will always say, “There’s no turning back. If we adjust this or vote for him, the damage will be too great to ever overcome.” I don’t believe it. I believe in the voters, and if we make a mistake, we can learn and change it. Trust that the voters will, in time, find and support the right.
6. Winning feels good but is not all positive. Both the joy of seeing hard work pay off and the joy of seeing a cause or person you believe in are good. Unfortunately, some of the joy in winning is often simply pride. This is evident in a desire to not only win but to see others lose. I have to admit that part of the joy I have experienced in political victories is childish and pathetic. It’s no more mature than the tongue out, hands waggling from the ears taunt of “I win and you lose.”
Such feelings have zero place in truly helping our society. I hope all those who vote for those issues and people who win avoid such feelings and the expression of them that has become all too common in our online political exchanges of today. A silver lining to being disappointed by an election is a healthy dose of humility, and that alone probably makes the loss worth it.
I am passionate about my views, the policies and candidates I support. I have great hope that on June 13 the voice of Boulder City will feel as I do, but if not … may I, like the poll booth worker, stand by my neighbor’s right to let his voice be heard even when it does not agree with mine.
Nathaniel Kaey Gee resides in Boulder City with his wife and six kids. He is a civil engineer by day and enjoys writing any chance he gets. You can follow his work on his blog www.thegeebrothers.com.