I’m anxious just to ask this question publicly. Voting is a very personal thing. Do I know who should be Chicago’s next mayor? No, really, but I have a duty to cast my vote anyway. So, with that understanding in my head and heart, I attended the 47th Ward Democrats mayoral forum at Lane Tech HS on January 15th.
I have proudly cast a vote in each election I was qualified to vote in, from the tippy top to the bitty bottom. It’s often at the local races (our clerks, commissioners, referendums, et. cetera) where I feel the most empowered. It’s more of a challenge to be informed at that level but the closer I pay attention, the easier it is to keep track.
The tippy top races are most clear to me (your presidents, senators, and congresspersons). I seek deeper understanding when it comes to county commissioners, district councilors, judges and the like. I try my hardest not to overlook keeping closely informed on state congress, as I feel all of us could benefit from more public engagement there – whether we live in Illinois or Oklahoma. For every ballot I lean on trusted reporting and industry experts to guide my opinion, as far as that will get me, and then vote my values if I need more assistance. I vote every election and it is very important to me.
I insist that the Religious Right isn’t the only moral and righteous voter. Many voters are, I believe, righteous with their votes. I went to church this morning. That’s not unusual for me, I’m in services most every Sunday these days. In November of 2019 I became a pledged member of my church, after attending on and off since 2004. In March of 2020 I began to volunteer every week on a new team of members who helped to guide the church as the COVID-19 crisis became a pandemic and stopped Church from gathering in person. Suddenly, all members were remote members, as I was, and I and my dear co-conspirators on the Welcoming Souls team worked thoughtfully to shepherd the congregation to grow and change with radical love. I really have always felt called, spiritually, to congregation and community. Our Beloved Community. My church alligns with my spirit in many ways, but today – today I felt called to go to church in person and attended a service with 2nd Unitarian.
There is a gap in my spirit that feels wide as the future approaches. Grief, maybe. A lot will be written about grief for our generations. I acknowledge I can experience grief deeply with transitions – not just the firm Life and Death transitions but all the joys and sorrows that come with the natural order of existence. Time passes, things change. This is like breath. Focus on the breath. In, out.
Primaries are for voting with your heart. I believe Kam Buckner earned my vote at the mayoral forum, but it was hard for me to choose when I was in front of my ballot from the Chicago Board of Elections. I voted by mail before polls or even endorsements could influence me. I did my own research and I prayed on it and I punched 3. If I was voting today, or even on election day (February 28th), I might have been swayed differently, but I stand by my choice and I only get one vote. It’s righteous to tell canvasers that I have already cast my ballot. But I am disappointed that Illinois doesn’t have Ranked Choice Voting.
With Ranked Choice Voting, we could ALL vote our values first with smaller influence from polls, endorsements, money. Yes, we need campaign reform, espeically when it comes to election finance. RCV is the best choice for a pluralistic society like ours to be governed by the people and for the people, with less influence from gross corporations and politics. The more I think about where I want to spend my volunteer time to ensure a lasting democracy, the more narrow my focus on RCV.