One of the delights of my small city is the waterfall at the heart of the downtown. It has powered mills since 1642, and with the addition of the dam atop the cataract, ran the textiles looms that made Cocheco calico world-famous.
The river – seen here resting at the end of summer – rages in the springtime, with snowmelt and heavy rains, and plunges into the tides that fluctuate eight to ten feet every six hours. Hence, the fish ladder for salmon, herring, and migrating eels.
With the retraining wall on the south side of the site in danger, a new wall was installed during the summer – a major construction project that tied up traffic for months.
When the old wall and the ground behind it were being removed earlier in the year, the excavation suggested that a much different design was in the works. Getting a clear view of the falling water has been difficult. The old walkway was charming, but you really wanted to get down lower and closer to the water. I envisioned a set of small terraces stepping downward beside the fish ladder.
Alas, that’s not what happened. We don’t even have the charming walkway anymore.
I’m hoping the new wall weathers quickly. Right now, it strikes me as an eyesore.
When it comes to election results in most of the locales I’ve lived in, I’ve awakened to find myself in the minority. Sometimes, discouraged, I’ve wondered if it’s even made sense to show up to cast my ballot.
On the other hand, believe me, being victorious can feel unbelievably vindicating.
That said, let me argue that casting your vote is not about winning. It’s about taking a stand.
Here are ten reasons you need to do it – especially if you live in the United States today.
It’s witness. The Bible presents a sequence of prophets and faithful individuals who have publicly done what’s right, no matter what. There’s good reason to have a multiparty system and its loyal opposition. Voting is one way of strengthening your own convictions.
It’s protest. In the current political climate, persecuted people and other nations need to know that not all Americans accept the tragic and reckless actions our government has been taking. History needs to know there have always been people of integrity, even when the current turns toward fascism.
You’re a reader. That means you’re better informed than the average Fox channel viewer. At the least, you cancel his vote. (Whew!) Better yet, you one-up him. (Yay!) Go for it.
As an informed voter, you can know who the big PAC money is supporting and cast your ballot against their candidates. Remember, in the end, the PACs want you to pay your taxes for their benefit. Defend yourself.
Some good people are running. Contrary to nihilistic conservative voices, not all candidates are crooks – in fact, that argument begins to sound like a mea culpa. Win or lose, honorable candidates need support in knowing they’ve done the right thing in campaigning. Otherwise, you’ve endorsed corruption and we’ll all pay dearly. You wouldn’t want that, would you?
Officeholders often feel alone when it comes to being true to their own moral values They need individuals to confirm their intuition. You can sway them in the direction events take, even into the next term.
Public policy decisions affect real actions for good or bad. You can back a candidate who’s going to solve problems rather than make more. And please, don’t settle on blank promises like “create new jobs” – ask what it actually means in detail. A job at Walmart won’t put much food on the table or pay the rent, not where I live, and will likely wipe out someone else in the process. Frankly, I’d rather have the someone else. Yada yada. Also listen for what they leave unsaid. Anyone remember hearing anything about taking over the Internet in our last national balloting?
Nurture future leaders. I’m encouraged to see talented fresh faces stepping up to the challenge across the nation. They need a boost. And we need theirs. Confirm their idealistic aspirations.
Screw the bastards. You can vote against incumbents and register your complaint, at the least. Rotten apples are destroying the barrel and need to be purged. This may be our last chance to trash them and wash the container. Don’t lose it. Let the good win out, please. Just look at what the partisan takeover of the Supreme Court is doing to the nation’s workers.
Defend your liberty. In essence, not voting is the same as not having the right to vote. Think about that. It’s time to come to the defense of your essential rights or else lose them. Democracy is being assaulted by reactionary forces.
As I would have said at the time: Note to folks living below the Mason-Dixon Line: It’s time to remove the Confederate monuments. They look too much like a sore loser.
Let’s remember, those shafts (at least the ones I’ve seen) have to be offensive to every descendant of every slave in America.
Think of all the German-Americans who never erected Kaiser monuments in honor of their dead kin. Japanese-Americans who could have placed Hiroshima/Nagasaki reminders. Italian-Americans, with Mussolini railroad efficiency. Vietnamese, Native-Americans, French?
It’s one thing to respect the dead, but this has felt defiant. From my view of history, it was a rich man’s war fought by the poor who continued to suffer poverty long after. Including many of my ancestors.
Now, what do I make of the statues of Civil War soldiers found on every town green in New England?