Have you voted yet? I know a lot of you have, and I’ve probably seen you at the polls the last couple of weeks. But if you haven’t, don’t complain if you have to stand in line Tuesday. You had your chance.
Thousands of voters have taken advantage of the early voting process here in Sampson County this year. Many of you have taken the opportunity to go ahead and cast your vote at the Board of Elections in Clinton, or at the other sites in Newton Grove, Garland or Roseboro. And I have seen many of you while working at the Clinton or Roseboro sites. I feel like I can recite the ballot instructions in my sleep, “If you decide to vote a straight ticket, you still must vote separate for the President, etc.”
Another poll worker and I were talking the other day just before opening the polls at the early voting site. Talking about a situation, I said, “Everybody has got stuff. It may not be obvious from the outside, but everybody has something that they are going through.” A few minutes later we opened the doors and the voters flocked in, each one, in their own way, with their own stuff.
Stuff. We all have it. Some of it is obvious. It may be the man rolling into the polls in a wheelchair. It may be the elderly lady, physically unable to get out of the car to come in and vote and needing to file a curbside ballot. It may be the middle-age daughter helping her mother, who has Alzheimer’s, cast a ballot. It may be the obviously stressed out young couple trying to vote with two very rambunctious preschool children. It may be the mother voting, while we helped her mentally challenged son cast a “special sample ballot.” (Don’t get paranoid, folks, we didn’t put the ballot in the voting machine.)
Stuff, but some of it isn’t so obvious. The voter may be smiling, but they have a medical problem that no one knows about, yet. They may have a child or close relative who is dealing with a drug problem. They may not be certain if the job they have now will be there next year. I could go on, but you pretty much know the point I am making.
Yes, we all have stuff. My stuff may not be as difficult as your stuff right now. But that’s right now. And you or I may not be dealing with much stuff right now. But that’s right now. Because that’s the way life is, and stuff is a part of life.
There’s going to be an election Tuesday. And according to Fox News, MSNBC and the rest of the media, your very future is at stake. The presidential campaigns have stirred up their base voters. It seems like any future happiness depends on what happens Tuesday. And it seems like many people are believing it.
In reality, Fox News, MSNBC and the rest of the media care little about the stuff going on in your life. They want to sell advertising. To sell advertising, they need viewers. And drama and conflict attract viewers. The people and organizations that give those millions to presidential campaigns also care little about the difficulties in your life. They want the financial benefits, influence and power that come from the access to that political office.
Don’t get me wrong, elections are important, especially Presidential elections. They determine, in part, the direction this country is heading. Many heroes have fought and died to protect your right to vote. And the people down at the Board of Elections have worked, and will work, long and hard hours to make it so this year. Yes, elections are important.
But, ultimately, despite what you may be hearing, whichever candidate wins or loses the Presidential election this Tuesday will probably have little effect on the difficult stuff you may be facing in your life. What will make a difference is you and the choices you make that can make a positive impact on the situation you face. And the grace of God, which can help you overcome, or carry you through, whatever you face.