“Take Care of the Rabbits and the Elephants will Fall”

The county in which I live (King County, WA)  went to a 100% by mail voting system  a year or so ago. At first I thought it was a good idea.  It would get more people to exercise their RIGHT to  vote…I still agree with that the more people that  vote the better off we are as a nation, regardless of the outcomes of those votes and your  or my particular  wishes on those outcomes….but  I have to say, putting a  stamp on the  envelope to mail in my ballot  seems  like having to pay to vote… yes the county provides  a  few “drop off points” to  place your ballot in some mystery box, but the nearest one is more in  gas than a stamp  so  I guess I pay to vote …I know it’s only  42 cents or whatever a forever stamp costs , and  before when you actually went to the polling place, you could typically  walk there or ride a bike  but it was  YOUR choice …such a minor thing I know but   it’s annoying to me  that I have to pay to vote…I  like the idea of   electronic  voting myself,  but  because my paid profession is in Information Technology I “get” the challenges of that  technically in  security and validation and  whatnot…. Someday we’ll get there  and  hey we still  get to vote  so  my minor annoyance with having to put a  stamp on the envelope is  just silly …..especially if I think back on the  history of voting here in the USA… it’s interesting to me that  the requirements to vote differ   by state still…, it should be a “no brainer”  I would think that we could settle on  a  national standard for  voting requirements  but that’s a  different topic…. Back to the  history because to me it’s a  great example of the true progress we’ve made using that power to vote…..in the  beginning only White MEN   that actually owned land ( or were rich enough to  pay taxes)    could vote, in roughly  1850 the Andrew  Jackson administration was  able to get that  changed  to where any White Man  could vote… but there were still  things like  “Poll  taxes”  ( that paying to vote thing….) , literacy and religious  tests were  required in many places before you could vote…and   sorry  women,  people of  color ( any color other than white,  including NATIVE Americans)   but you do not get to vote…just the white guys…. Well then  came the  civil  war,   after that an amendment  ( the 14th) was  made to the  constitution  that  said  basically if you’re born here or  naturalized (but NOT Native Americans) well a couple of years later they  came up with the 15th Amendment    that  said adult males  of any race  were  allowed to vote , even former slaves..  that was 1870..well a few  years later  there was a what I consider a major setback….  They  came up with “poll taxes” and literacy tests to  try to keep  people “they”  didn’t “like”  from voting.. it  stayed that way for a  while….until 1920 when    we finally   wised up. At least towards women,   and let them  vote  and in  1924   we did the same for  Native  Americans.  It wasn’t for many  more years until we  eliminated the “poll tax” (1964) and 1965 ( many thanks to Martin Luther King Jr.)  to eliminate the  literacy tests and other barriers to voting… (  things were different state to state  but these were the “biggees” to me)… then all was good but it could still be better so in 1966 they truly eliminated the poll tax everywhere, and  in 1970 they  finally  got rid of the literacy tests everywhere. I wasn’t until 1971  that  we changed the  voting age to 18..ahh  oh let’s let  that  settle  voting  history  for a while ….or at least until  someone said  “how do we get more people  to vote”?  I have a good idea  that person said,  people  like to drive and have to  renew their  driver’s license so let’s  link voter registration as  an option with  your driver’s license renewal…  smart person… so in 1995 the “motor voter” law was passed.  Then  it was time to revamp that actual  process of voting so a  standard act was  put in place in 2003…well that  bring us  to   where we are today, I think we’re still working on  how to   streamline and make the process more  user friendly and  efficient but it’s still a  right for all of us now! It took a while  as you can see… well I’m going to admit something that I probably  shouldn’t …I don’t  vote in every single election YIKES!! But Mike you say,  you’re a  veteran, you fought for those  rights  why wouldn’t you exercise them yourself?  Are you some type of hypocrite?  Well I don’t think so  but you may see it differently… see I get   the “opportunity” to exercise my right to vote  like 5 times a year  here in King County…I’ll be honest and say that I don’t know how it works  when they send out the ballots… but I do look  at them all and if there are things that are important to me and that I  personally feel that I  want a  say in  then I vote..if not then I  recycle  the  ballot and everything in it. Which is one of the reasons I’m not a  giant supporter of the vote by mail  system… it’s killing a  whole lot of trees…..ok so  I’m not even going to talk  about  the “campaigning” and the negative  BS that is splashed across every possible  medium… we all get  that… not sure why the  politicos  don’t….  and this is  specifically about  voting so not going there..…. As I mentioned it’s a  right… and free speech is also a right…  but I see a conflict there… yeah you have the “right” to bitch and moan and complain about the politicians and the issues… but  honestly if you don’t vote that right should be taken away…  you can  make a change, or at least voice your opinions by voting and   then if you  don’t agree you have the right to free speech and   complain and  whatnot  but if you don’t  vote… please  shut up , it’s insulting to  those of us that took the  time  and  cared enough about the issues to  try to make a difference.  So  off the soap box and back to my  ballot… It came in the mail along with two different “information”  pamphlets… how they can call them pamphlets  I have no idea… they are BOOKS…. They don’t have “page” numbers and I’m not going to  count them but  I can guestimate that the “county”  one I  received  has about 50 pages, and the  State one  (that includes  Federal) has at least 4 times that  number of pages…..well that’s a   good indication that   I have some reading to do…this is feeling less like a right and more like  punishment… but I want change and or a voice in my government  so I have to “get it” to cast an educated vote….. so I take out the ballot…. On my ballot here’s  what all I  get to vote on:

4 different State “Measures”

1 County  Tax issue

2 State Constitutional Amendments

1 State Senate “Advisory” bill

1 State House “Advisory”  bill

President and VP of the USA

A Senate Seat for  Washington

A House of Representative seat  for Washington

State Governor

State Lt. Governor

Washington State –  Secretary of State

Washington State  -Treasurer

Washington State  Auditor

Washington State  Attorney General

Washington State  Commissioner of Public Lands

Washington State  Superintendent of Public Education

Washington State  Insurance Commissioner

2 Different  State Senate Seats

King County  Sheriff

3 State Supreme Court Justices

2 Appeals Court Judges

A Superior Court Judge

So as you can see  there is a BUNCH of stuff  that I can have  a  say in….  pretty darn cool!! So my “process is” to go through  the ballot and  fill out the  ones I  “KNOW”  for sure who or which way I’m voting… sadly in this  case  it weren’t that many….  So then it’s   start at the front of the  “pamphlet”  and  start reading and  understanding  the  for and  against  stances, paying close attention to who wrote  and supports each side of the issues… I’m not a  “straight down the party line” voter… I take every  post and issue  individually and  vote for  whichever best matches my position.   I work my way through about  half of it in a few hours and then take a  break for a day…. I tackle the other half over   a few more hours on  the next day. Which is a plus side really to the  vote by mail system, it  let’s me  take the time to vote on my terms, rather than the old way : standing in  the booth and trying to remember where you stand on which topic… wow this is a boring update isn’t it?  Oh well sorry  dear readers…  but that’s kinda the point….  It may  SEEM boring to sort through your  voters pamphlet  but  the only way  you can make a change  is to be part of the  change you want to see in the world… it’s not supposed to be EASY,  the RIGHT to vote is something you should take  seriously and appreciate … there are countless men and women who  gave their lives since the  late 1700’s  so that you can have that  right… if you want change, work for it!! One way to do that with your government is to exercise your  right to vote,  and  don’t take that right for granted or  slap your country in the face by not taking  the process seriously…  by  making  a joke of if and just putting “c” for everything  or  writing in  Snookie for President is  slapping ME  and  any other veteran or  decent  responsible citizen in the  face… so vote or don’t  vote… it’s your right but if you do, treat it like the honor that it is , think about those dictatorships and Monarchies  etc.. where  you don’t get a say..they dream of  having the right that too many  Americans today take for granted.  Why do they do that?  There are probably lots of reasons,  they feel their votes really don’t matter  the electoral college is a  farce,  the system is corrupt  but people it  starts at your LOCAL  level,  make changes there and push them  upwards…  an old “quote” that I LOVE  that a lot of people don’t get and I have no idea where it truly came  from,  but I learned it  from Doc Counsilman ( Look him up here  awesome  influence in my life as a young swimmer – http://www.indiana.edu/~radiotv/wtiu/doc/gallery.html)  was “take care of the rabbits and the elephants will fall” …what  it boils down to, to me,  is  if  you  focus on the small things and doing the  well  and  right than  the  big things will just fall into place and work out….  Kinda that whole  think global , act local thing…..and Yes  I was trained in swimming by the same   man that trained Mark Spitz….I continued swimming  and  did very well   through High School  and then in the first few years of my Military  Career…but this isn’t about swimming…..but   before I get too far, I need to say  “What’s up Doc”  ( anyone who  reads this who knew him or  about him will get that)  and  also to say RIP  Doc (a few years late, sorry  Sir, you aren’t forgotten!!)   you were an inspiration to me. ..back to voting……

Oh you, dear  reader,  were hoping   that I was going to tell you where I stood on the topics and  how I voted?  Hahahah keep dreaming  I am proud of my votes and how I voted…. I was brought up by two fine people  and taught that your vote is private only to you and it’s rude to  talk about I or ask about it. Just like you never ask a  woman her age, you never look ina  woman’s purse,  and if you are asked the  Do I look fat in this dress question you  turn and RUN……. But with the “don’t tell people  how you voted”  well,  I actually  haven’t  shared that one full on with my kids,  I respect my parents  both very much but  I don’t agree with that, I always talk with my kids and my wife  about   how I’m voting and explaining why  to them,   the  kids usually don’t agree,  which makes for  great conversation and I hope learning , compromises,   learning how to  agree to disagree and even sometimes  getting a different perspective that changes my or their minds…. HOWEVER  you  may be  my friends or my family  reading this or you may be a complete stranger so  I’ll not be sharing  how I voted here 🙂  Let’s just say I’m exercising  my right to  another amendment to the  Constitution. The 5th…….. Well,  ok I’ll tell you how I voted on just  two  issues  that will  completely leave you guessing on  all the rest….. both  were Washington State items…  I voted in  favor of making    same  sex marriage legal, and  I voted against making  marijuana completely  legal  (it’s already legal for medicinal use) …  no the items aren’t related but I think  they show that I’m  not a “party line” guy 🙂  I’m very sure that  some of you agree with both, one,  or the other, or  neither of them  but that isn’t the point….and  no need to judge me and post rude comments… I am who I am and I am proud of all my  votes…  It’s my vote, I exercised that right whether you agree or disagree with my positions on those topics is moot  but you can exercise  your own right…….and  guess what,  I  respect you  for doing just that no matter which way you vote!!!!! Respect me and  236+ years of people  fighting to  give you that  right.

5 thoughts on ““Take Care of the Rabbits and the Elephants will Fall”

  1. MIke, if it is any “comfort” to you , you can assume that IF those ballots came with “postage paid” envelopes that you WOULD be paying for them in the end anyway because it would be showing up on your tax bill!!!! And I agree with you, if you don’t bother to go vote, I don’t want to hear a WORD out of you about anything remotely political that you don’t agree with. I am in awe of the LINES in Florida, waiting to exercise their right to vote!!! (Although I will admit my first thought was WHY doesn’t Florida have MORE voting places so this isn’t necessary!!!). I would have some questions about the SECURITY of mail in ballots, how do they know that the wrong person hasn’t gotten ahold of that ballot and filled it out?? I am sure wiser heads than mine have already thought about it.
    Happy Monday to you Michael!!!

    • Ruth, Had same reservations on mailing. So I posted mine the day before election. When you have a whole State sending in; makes one wonder how many people are opening and processing each vote.

  2. I thought you had an elephant at Sarvey, oh and a few rabbits too. You need a donkey up there now. Okay, so, you wrote the way I think about the voting, EXACTLY how. Sumatra and Politics..who would have thought it.

    • hahah no Elephants, but plenty of rabbits… both cottontails that we rehab and release, and then the farm raised and “prepared” for sustenance for the wildones 🙂 but yeah imagine that Boomer, we’re two peas in a pod I tell ya, so proud to be your friend!!

  3. I thought the same as Boomer…expected to see pictures of rabbits chasing the elephants! lol I try to vote for every election there is; it is not only my right, but my privilege! I may be just one small vote, but many small votes together can make a “big” difference! Many small rabbits could herd one big elephant! Loved your article…look forward to more!

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