May the gods of my people hear my prayers;
as we go to the polls to choose our leaders,
may it be with wisdom.
-Ceisiwr Serith, A Book of Pagan Prayer
It is always very nice to know that there's a book of Pagan prayer out there that's got some useful stuff in it. I took mine to the polls this morning, and prayed before I began voting. I prayed aloud, but in the confines of my booth, where no one else needed to hear me. It's interesting: I was praying for all of us, but didn't want to disturb my fellow voters. Not that more than five people would have heard me. . . turnout is shockingly low this year.
These "gods of my people," today's Teutates, are Ladies Liberty and Democracy, I think. If I've learned anything from my Paganism, it's that it can be a truly patriotic religion, on occasion deifying those things that we hold most sacred as Americans. Our concepts of freedom and equality are deeply rooted, and we believe firmly in them. We may consider dissent patriotic, along with the belief that tolerance should be held as a high standard (despite my problems with the word "tolerance"), but we are certain that our voice is important and that it will be heard.
Sometimes, I am disturbed by the serious lack of constructive criticism I hear from my Pagan peers, but then, it's about the level that I hear from everywhere else, too. Heck, no one is perfect.
After that short prayer I pulled out my candidate cheat sheet (giving political parties and other fun facts) and went to town.
I voted on the things that were important to me, and I'm happy with my choices. I also voted against my least favourite candidate on the ballot, Eddie Pauline, who quite literally stole my email address and keeps sending me crap.
As for issues? Well, I made my decision in the booth, as I always do. I voted for some things I didn't expect to and against things I expected to vote for. The funny thing is, I have a tendancy to forget what I voted for which issue when I leave.
Hell, I have trouble remembering which presidential candidate I voted for in 2000, and if I didn't know the precise issue that changed my mind while I was in the booth, I probably wouldn't even know who got my vote that year.
But I'm sure that I made the right choices for me. It's probably the longest I ever spent in the voting booth, reading through issues. But the thing about going to cast your vote? It feels empowering. It feels right. It feels good. (Even if, like me, you're unsure if your vote was counted in the last election.)
Yes, I expect my friends to have voted today. At least, if your voting day is today, as it is if you live in Ohio.
You cannot complain if you did not vote. And I really do feel that it is your civic duty. Some days, I figure regular trips to the polls should be a requirement for citizenship.