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It’s OK to vote your own way

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

By J. Hogan

-Gains & Gleanings-

“You are voting for (name of local pol), right?” I overheard one neighbor ask another last week.

“I’m not, I’m voting for the other guy.” came the reply.

“He’s not a Democrat!”

“I know, but I asked (local pol) if they’d call for an investigation of the governor for sending covid into old folks homes, and they refused to answer.”

“That’s because the governor’s a Democrat! We need to stick together, especially now.”

“Not me,” their lifelong friend replied, “I’m not about party right-or-wrong, that’s why our party’s so messed up these days.”

“Man, you need to get your head on straight! Those Trumpsters would have you in chains…”

I went about my business. It was a relatively placid bit of jousting between 2 buddies, hardly the outraged screaming of some or the belittling smuggery of some of Hollywood’s self-important folks.

Yet, it stuck in my head for days. I finally figured out why.

It’s YOUR vote.

Do with it what you will. Use it. Don’t use it. Vote major party, vote 3rd party, vote no party.

Vote for your party or against your party up and down the line. Write in Agatha Christie or Sidhartha Garma.

Certainly we’re free to try to share our thoughts and win people over to our side on matters and candidates, but if they won’t budge, that’s OK. Use your vote to vote for what you want and leave others to use theirs as they please.

Browbeating others, ending friendships, ghosting family members, all in the name of wanting to have our own vote be everyone’s vote is wrong-headed, at least if we claim to believe in democracy.

If one believes their vote should be everyone’s vote, at heart they’re an autocrat.

Autocracy works great for one person… the one in charge.

Usually in an autocracy there are no restraints on power, no checks and balances, and very quickly only one remaining person enjoying the autocratic system… the one person whose opinion rules. Everyone else soon finds out that system pretty much stinks for them.

We used to celebrate the fact that we have so many different ways of thinking, so many quirky folks contributing to our society. It’s made us an amazing people.

Oddly, as we’ve become more and more diverse over the years, more people insist on homogeny of thought.

No thank you.

I lived a border away from a place where homogeny of thought was demanded by tyrants during the Cold War.

The people living there didn’t have amazing lives… until the walls came down and they started being allowed to be who they were as individuals.

We all can tend to have an inner tyrant that wants to impose our will on others. Fight that inner tyrant, and learn to love diversity of thought. The better ideas win on their own over time, and don’t need tyranny to instill them.

Rev. James Hogan is a native of Stowe Township and serves as pastor of Faithbridge Community Church in McKees Rocks.



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