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This is the day when every American has a voice. Each person gets to add to our national discussion. Each person is on an equal playing field in this one area of our complicated society. It doesn’t matter if you are a waitress or a truck driver, a banker or a farmer, a senator or a welfare recipient. It doesn’t matter if you live in a McMansion or a yurt or if you are single or married or divorced 3 times or if you are an 18 year old or an 80 year old. On this day, each citizen in our nation gets a voice in the form of their vote. And my voice matters as much as my neighbor’s or my congressman’s or my president’s.
On this day, we get a chance to participate in our nation’s (and therefore, the world’s) collective history. We get to be a part of something so much bigger than ourselves. Look, I could rant for days about the problems with our country and with the issues with the voting process itself. America is not right now the best version of itself. But today is not the day for long rants and discussions about all the things that are wrong. Instead, today millions of people will have a moment where they submit their ballot. And at that moment, everything that is amazing and good about our country is present.
Some people will complain about the process itself – about standing in line, about voting machines, about what’s fair and what’s not. And those complaints are valid. But those complaints are only available to us because of the democratic process itself and because we get the chance to participate. And that chance is the great equalizer in our country. Nearly half of us will be disappointed, devastated, and angered by the results this year. But each of us will have had the chance to let our voices be heard.
Election Day to me is a day of generic patriotic pride. It’s a day to be thankful for our nation with all its warts and flaws and room for improvement. All over our country today people are getting ready to vote or are already standing in line to vote. And some of their fellow citizens have taken a day out of their lives to fill our polling centers, from the smallest rural townships to the largest cities, and ensure every vote gets counted, to safeguard our democracy. People without power and heat are standing and waiting for their chance to cast their vote. People who have sick loved ones, people who have family members and loved ones serving in our military, people who don’t care a bit about politics except for today are going to vote. People without 2 dollars to rub together until Friday payday are taking time off to stand in line and let their voices be heard.
And that? That is what stirs us, what provides the inspiration to keep trying with this experiment of representation by the people. It has never been perfect. It has been closer to perfect than now, to be sure. The entire history of our nation is filled with mistakes, outrages, imperfections, and disenfranchisement. But always we have inched forward. Always we have had the chance to improve our nation. That is the power, the promise, and the potential of our democracy.
I passed a tree today
With leaves so red
I sucked in my breath.
I stopped for a few pictures
Taken half heartedly
Already knowing that sending
Them to you
Will be the most unsatisfying substitution
For standing with my hand in yours
Gazing up at the flaming leaves
Looking down at the burning ground
And simply talking
About how autumn is ours.
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Sometimes the best style is keeping things as simple and classic as possible. A timeless chambray shirt paired with dark british khaki chinos always looks good. Any time on anyone. The details like the jean cut of the chinos and the dark leather belt and boots keep this outfit on the rugged classic end of the style spectrum. A quintessential dive watch is the finishing touch. Simple. Timeless. Classic. Stylish.
When you finally say those six scary words Quietly, out Loud To your best friend As you lie on your back In the dark, Your fear is a presence “I think I might be gay” I want to wrap you in my love Give to you The strength of my heart And say, “It’s ok”
When you’re terrified of losing your family, Friends and Life And the sentencing of your Soul To eternal hell Makes you cut your own skin To feel a separate, easier pain, As a way to face your fears I want to pull you behind me Protect your heart As a bear guards her cubs And say, “It’s ok”
When you slosh through the dregs Of your Religion Feeling the power of your Faith, Once unshakeable, Slip from your grasp Because you can’t, no, you won’t, lie About your basic truth I want to take your trembling hands in mine Pass to you The peace of my soul And simply say, “Valiant girl, it’s ok”
When you search for a loophole In the Damnation Laid out in one verse after another But find judgment Instead of Grace And always more questions Even the ministers cannot seem to answer I want to look deep into your clear blue eyes Cry for you The tears of absolution And say, “Brave seeker, it’s ok”
When you turn to other sources of wisdom Searching for Peace Blazing your own beautiful path To unshakeable truth And you find solid ground Among the trees and the poets Amid the philosophers and stars I want to lie next to you on the warm summer ground In the dark Crying in awe at the grandeur of the universe And, soft as a whisper, say, “See? It’s ok”
When you stand your own ground, fast and firm In your Truth And you won’t back down Or accept an inferior brand of love The scarlet sound of “I love you anyway” Because you don’t need Forgiveness for being yourself I want to cheer for you Scream myself hoarse Praising your fierceness, bravery and courage And say, “That’s it! It’s ok.”
When you sit with a counselor digging still to Find your Worth Leaning into the pain In search of freedom From a lifetime of doubt and shame And you finally say those words, out loud, “I’m proud of who I am” I want to sing with a choir of angels “It is well, It is well with my soul” And hear you say, “I’m ok”
When you look in the mirror on a Fitting room Wall And see yourself, Whole And feel compassion and love Replacing all the doubt and the shame And you gently say those words, out loud Affirming my worth, “I see you” I want to wrap myself in your love Finally feel warmth That heals my broken heart And I’ll say, “I’m ok”