Ice and snow stopped the power
We were without power for a week. The house became hostile: no heat, no lights, no hot water, no television, no Internet. Still, our challenges were minimal compared to what was experienced across Texas as water pipes froze and temperatures dropped below freezing. People struggled to find heat from any source. Some died! Power is essential!
The meaning of power
Events like these makes you think about this thing called, “power.” It’s applied to a lot of circumstances. It’s not just electrical. And, it’s not just “horsepower” that moves things forward. It may refer to a personal ability to accomplish something: the power to buy what you want or what you need, the power to influence others, the power to control. Power changes the environment, the future, and the fortunes of those you love. “Power” can take on many forms.
One power form that became apparent is the power of caring. Our neighborhood, for example, showed resilience as neighbors reached out to neighbors. Firewood was shared, for example, as were words of concern – a willingness to help others in any way that could make a difference. Simply sharing news updates and hearing another’s voice was enough to help keep hope alive.
Then along comes COVID. Keeping hope alive and some semblance of normalcy as we all don masks, wash hands, keep our distance, is a challenge. How much can we take? It depends on how much we care about others. Such caring power is enormous. It brings warmth (a magical word these days) that reassures that we are not alone, there are answers, an end to the challenge is coming.
It becomes blatantly clear that power, real strong power, doesn’t always come with a title, a badge, or a bullet. Caring ignores our differences, especially “isms” that point to religions or politics or economics. When we care, separations dissolve and we become as one. It’s about us – not you, not me – US.
Political power comes from the people
Those that are oblivious of this reality, especially in the political spheres (local, state, federal), become well-known. Politicians devoid of empathy show they are less than human, more monstrous, and flat out ineffective as leaders. Their true power becomes usurped.
A stark and bad example of this is watching Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz leaving his home state as it struggled with the freezing onslaught. “Escape” is a fitting descriptor. The challenges, the tragedies, did not touch him.
Contrast that with a message provided in a recent edition of The Oregonian by Republican Representative Ron Noble. His op-ed on January 13th asked that we, Embrace differences, not divisions, in moving forward. He urges Oregonians (and any reader, really) to care. He asks:
How much individual autonomy and freedom do we sacrifice in the interest of the collective good? How much should we restrict the good actors in order to restrain the bad actors?
To guide those decisions, we look to embrace different values, opinions and solutions. It’s the thought that no one person or group has all the answers, and that by engaging and sharing our differences through debate, persuasion, peaceful protest and compromise, we can be creative, innovative and collaborative in seeking that “sweet spot” of what, how and why the government should be involved.
This process of working through differences is not division; it’s the definition of our union. Working through differences determines the cohesiveness of our families, the success of our communities and our businesses, and the effectiveness of our governments, including our state Legislature.
It should be noted that Representative Noble posed this concern one week after the insurrection occurred in Washington, D.C. He raised the concern, the caring, a week before the presidential inauguration. He continued:
I believe there is a majority out there – a sensible majority of people with differing opinions who can engage and listen to each other without vilifying each other. A group of people who may have different ideals, ideas and opinions and may come from different corners of our state, but who are willing to work together toward shared goals. A group that strives to ensure every voice is heard; to strike a balance in how large a role government should play; and to restrain bad actors without over-burdening the good actors.
I’m calling on that majority, the sensible majority. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Get involved. Listen and learn, let your voice be heard, and help us find solutions in the midst of our differences.
I applaud Representative Noble’s caring attitude. It’s the kind of rallying cry a leader gives when it is recognized that greater participation – greater caring –makes a difference. Caring matters.
Our voting voice is power
It is this kind of perspective that forms a baseline for Equal Voice Voting (EVV) wherein it is essential that all presidential election ballots make a difference. It’s a politically nonpartisan approach that points out that all of us, each of us, has a relatively untapped power. The power of our vote should not be dismissed, uncounted, set aside.
All Votes Matter! is a newly published book that tells of the history of the electoral college, its purpose, and how it can better be used than what we experience today. All Votes Matter! lives up to its title as it shows how every ballot cast can affect the election result, delivering a popular vote result on a state-by-state basis.
There is real power vested in the citizens of these United States. It emerges best when diversity is embraced and we, the people, show we care.
Please share this blog with others!
By Jerry Spriggs and the Equal Voice Voting Team