Now and Then: A Voter’s Perspective on Creating History
Two hundred years ago today Thomas Jefferson was serving as our third United States President. This was a man who believed in freedom of speech and of the press. He believed that always having an army and navy ready to fight was dangerous and it was better to work through conflicts via other means, such as embargoes and economic restrictions. He believed that bankers and industrialists were corrupt and should be avoided. His work was as a lawyer. He founded a university and had a strong vision that any able citizen should be allowed to attend his university. He voiced his opinion that slavery was immoral, yet owned many slaves himself.
Today, at an elementary school named for Thomas Jefferson, I voted for President a man who, if he was alive 200 years ago, would have been a slave even though he shared many things in common with the man who may have owned his liberty.
In a matter of 15 minutes total, I left my house, walked three blocks, voted and returned home. It took longer to check my e-mail and make coffee this morning. The sun is shining, birds are chirping, the air is warm and if it weren’t for the colored leaves on the trees one might think it was Spring. And, at least in the symbolism, the springtime elation, joy and hope I feel today is as great as when the final snow melts and we are looking at beautiful weather for months to come.
So, no matter who you vote for today, though I would hope it was for the same man I support, please vote. Our presidents have all been complicated people with complex views, priorities and opinions, but even those we disagree with are only wanting what they believe is best for this country and for us.
For civic duty,
Stacie Williams writes, reads and sells books in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.