The Audacity of Hope

(Can we fix it?  YES, WE CAN!)

Well, Election Day is here at last.  But Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man and I won’t be going to the polls.  Why?  Because we already did.  Last week at our local branch library. 

We had to wait about half an hour, but we didn’t mind.  I’ve always enjoyed waiting in line to vote, studying the faces around me, wondering what their stories are, and pondering who they might be voting for and why.   Everyone was quite somber—it seemed we were all aware of just how important this election is and how much is at stake.  I was very nervous as I began to fill in the little ovals with the provided pen.  And so afraid of making a mistake that, of course…I made a mistake. 

I didn’t think it was a serious blunder, but I had to make sure, so before I fed it into the machine, I showed my ballot to the nice man standing beside the machine and asked him if my mistake would affect my votes.  He took my ballot in hand and studied it.

“So…I see…you voted a straight Democratic ticket?” he said in a booming voice that seemed to echo throughout the small library conference room.  The low hum of conversation in the room stopped.  People looked up from their voting booths.  Faces turned in my direction.  And from the look on some of those faces, you’d think he had said, “So…you and your husband are flesh-eating zombies from Hell, are you?” 

I felt my face turn red and whispered, “Yes…yes, I did.”  He studied the ballot further, then handed it back to me with a smile and told me it was fine. My hands were shaking as I fed it to the machine and fled. 

Not that I was surprised to see those hostile faces.  We live in a very rural and very conservative community.  There are McCain/Palin signs everywhere, but almost no Obama/Biden posters.  Not that the Obama supporters aren’t out there…they are…but we all know that a campaign sign for Obama would last about five minutes here.   And most of the people who live here are truly fine people—very earnest and sincere in both their spiritual and political beliefs. 

Anyway, I don’t generally write political posts (because others do it so much better), but I just wanted to stand up and say that I am proud to have voted for Barack Obama.  I am proud to have voted for change, for hope, and for the possibility of the healing of our country.

I read two news items in the paper a few days ago.  One of them said that Sarah Palin was seriously considering a run for the Presidency in 2012.  The other said that “Joe the Plumber” had hired a publicity team and that a book would be forthcoming.   Dear God. 

I suddenly envisioned a horrible scenario:  Sarah Palin running for President with “Joe the Plumber” as her running mate.  Yikes.  You may say it couldn’t happen and I pray you’re right, but with the circus that politics has become, it would seem that nothing is out of the question.  By Golly, you betcha. 

I do pray that “Joe the Plumber” will soon fade back into his well-deserved earlier obscurity.  I find his ubiquity more annoying than Paris Hilton’s, and that’s saying a lot.

I mean, really, is he seriously the best the Republicans could offer for an example of “the common man?”  Well, I’ll grant…he does seem common.  But let me offer for your consideration my husband, “Tom the Carpenter.”  He works hard for his $12.00 an hour, he pays his taxes, and if he ever made over $250,000 a year, he would be happy to “spread the wealth.”  Because that’s what Jesus told us to do and that’s what Jesus Himself would do.  You know how McCain and Palin keep belittling the idea of spreading the wealth?  You wouldn’t find Jesus ridiculing the notion of sharing.  He spoke frequently of our responsibility to help the poor.

Or, instead of “Joe the Plumber,” how about “Bob the Builder?”  For any that might not know, he’s the little cartoon hero contractor/fix-it man who, when there is a problem says, “Can we fix it?”  And all his friends and co-workers shout, “YES WE CAN!”   And, yes, I know it’s not that simple and that our problems are so daunting as to seem almost hopeless.  But we must start somewhere.

So let me add my one small voice to the growing chorus of hope.  And let us all raise our voices for change.  For healing.  For our children’s and grandchildren’s futures….

Can we fix it?  YES WE CAN!

Yes, oh yes…we can.

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14 Responses to “The Audacity of Hope”

  1. Pat Says:

    Your post has made me smile this morning Beth. It will be interesting (to say the least) to see the results from both our states as well as the rest of our country.

    I’ve cast my vote for Barack and Joe and will now wait and see what the day holds.

  2. jennifersaylor Says:

    “I suddenly envisioned a horrible scenario: Sarah Palin running for President with “Joe the Plumber” as her running mate.” LOL!

    Thanks for a good Election day laugh. I am always refreshed by your perspective as a Christian (the REAL kind) and a political liberal.

  3. marion Says:

    nice giggle…Palin and JoeThePlumber…watching the TV news today & especially tonight as we make history around the world.

  4. wesleyjeanne Says:

    yes yes yes! Great post!

    As you know, I voted early too. I’m feeling very hopeful today: for Barack Obama and for this country.

    And in the typical refrain of “What would Jesus do?” I think you nailed it on the head: Jesus would not only spread the wealth but he would never wage war. I once heard that peace and security cannot co-exist because peace is risky. It takes the greatest of individuals to stand up to an armed enemy and open hands and heart. Martin Luther King did that. Ghandi did that. Jesus did that, too. And yes, they killed those men for it. But look, look at the widespread impact those individuals have had because of their willingness to wage peace.

    Sorry to rant: I just think it’s the same as the “spread the wealth” issue. Did you know that the people who donate the highest percent of their income to help others are lower middle class and poor people?

    Okay, I’ll stop…

    I love the image of Bob the Builder (and Tom the Carpenter) standing up for the average person.

    As always, your post is well-written and insightful!

  5. Clara Melvin Says:

    H00-RAY for you Beth. We are on the same page! I voted this morning and even took my lunch with me in case the lines were long. It took only about 15 minutes I meant to stay there as long as necessary. They said my vote counted. We shall see!

  6. luckypennies Says:

    The best political post I’ve read lately. And I too love the Bob the Builder and Tom the Carpenter images. I’m feeling very hopeful for this election, and as vague as Obama can be sometimes, I have true faith in his ability to change and heal our country.

    Did I tell you I was Sarah Palin for my Spanish project? I poked fun at her so much, and in Spanish, which made it even better. Someone else was Obama, which was funny.

    On that note, let me just say, Sí, se puede!

  7. June Says:

    We can indeed!

  8. Judy Says:

    I was the only one at the poles in my district at 7 a.m. this morning! I could not believe it. They have already projected Kentucky as I write this and our state went for McCain. I knew it would but he did not get my vote or the vote of any of my children. I want Obama to win so bad for the future of my children and grandchildren. I cannot imagine Sarah Palin as anything but then like you said who knows anymore. I am surrounded by McCain signs, too, Beth.

  9. eemilla Says:

    Beth,

    I really appreciate the reminder that Jesus was a pinko-liberal; it really annoys me to hear how evil helping your neighbor is. I have been visualizing President Barack Obama for the past few weeks, and I too cast my early ballot for him. As I type this Senator Obama is up double electoral votes; I just hope that voters will realize that loving your country means more than wearing a flag pin and demonizing community organizers.

  10. Benjamin Says:

    Haha…I would love to see Ariel’s Microsoft Paint rendering of what “Tom the Carpenter” would look like! Nice post.

  11. CountryDew Says:

    Excellent post. This is a new dawn for the country. You can smell the change.

  12. Jeff Says:

    What the poll worker did was unethical, to say the very least. Have you given any consideration to filing a written complaint with the County Elections Department? I surely would! People like him need to be reminded that voting in this country is done in secret. It is done that way for a reason, so that others don’t cause you humiliation and embarrassment for voting your heart. I’d be very angry with that person!

  13. colleen Says:

    Palin’s staff is now coming out with all kinds of revaluations on how uniformed she actually was. And Joe the plumber is a fraud. Isn’t named Joe, doesn’t make nearly 200,000 and owes back taxes. I think Palin should be relegated to the status of the VP nominee whose name I always forget who couldn’t spell potato. (I say that realizeing I usually spell it wrong).

    I have friends who heard racial slurs at the polls this year. It makes me feel sick and, sadly, tempers the elation I feel at Obama’s win.

  14. clairz Says:

    Beautiful post, Beth. It brought tears to my eyes. You always express what’s in your heart so well.

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