Who gives a flying fish whether or not a neighbor voted?

If you check (as you can), you’ll see I have voted in every federal and state election since my 18th birthday. Every election, that is, except one – a primary wherein my party’s candidates were both the same flavor, though they’d spent millions pretending otherwise. However, even from this lofty height, I am infuriated by the circulating lists of voting behavior for a recent election.

What idiotic group thought that a divisive “neighborhood watch” approach to shaming someone into voting was a good idea? Publish THAT list of names! Shame on any entity who even imagined creating such a list for thinking their “should” doesn’t stink. It stinks to high heaven, and I’ll remind you why.

Was the list vetted to excuse a neighbor distracted on polling day due to having a child in the hospital? Was a neighbor excused for having Alzheimer’s or dementia? A neighborhood is comprised of people, not roll call entries. Folks just moving here from out of state – are they on the list of unpatriotic, lazy bums who shirk their voting duty?

And I also suspect that some folks might have decided that by NOT voting they did, in fact, cast a “no confidence in any candidate” vote. Sometimes being a true patriot means refusing to be led by the nose to go to a circus where the main attraction is a forgetful elephant trying to out-should a stubborn ass. More and more often, the would-be emperor and the would-be czar both have no clothes, but we all line up to pretend they do, and to elect the one who delivered the most effective 30-second message. (Or to elect the one who, conversely, did the fewest dinnertime taped messages and so was the less annoying of the two.)

If candidates were legally entitled to votes, and you had a true duty to vote, the military would round up our citizenry in train cars and transport us to central polling sites. In this country, last I knew, voting is a guaranteed privilege granted to citizens older than a set minimum age – though some states have denied about 5.3 million felons the right to cast a ballot. The rest of us are “entitled” (which means we have a “right” that cannot be revoked or infringed upon) to vote for our representatives.

That word “representative” is interesting in itself, given that too often I find that no candidate actually cares about my middle-of-the-road, fiscally conservative but socially responsible agenda – or wants to represent it.

I voted again, yes, but not because of the pressure exerted by some dimwitted, ill-intentioned petition. I queued up due to a 1950s upbringing and sense of moral obligation that still passes for patriotism. I did it because my daughter served in the Air Force, personally fighting on foreign soil in the Iraq war for more than two years for the rights that the red-white-and-blue signifies in my heart. I also voted because my husband is a 23-year Navy veteran who would never miss an election – to cancel his vote out, since our political sensitivities and agendas usually differ.

Regardless of why I voted, I’ll be brutally honest and admit it still was a vote for the lesser of two disappointments, and not (in my opinion) for an emerging leader worthy of a vote of confidence or support. And I actually split across party lines, voting for one of each party’s candidates – and wouldn’t it be an interesting conclusion if that vote prevailed? It would be a hoot, as my no-nonsense, hillbilly family would say. And that would, at least, make it worth the trouble.

Meanwhile, on the job front, while I have your attention …

There are jobs being created in the private sector by area business or nonprofit leaders willing to take a strategic leap of faith that is not directly fueled by either candidate or circumvented by one day’s trading on the stock market. For the first time in over a year, four job opportunities crossed my desk in one day as friends asked for potential candidate referrals. That broke all recent records!

Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC) has two openings at present – one in Milwaukee (loan officer) and one in Madison (South Central Project Director). Both positions directly assist businesses in getting micro-loans – which spurs the economy in real and direct ways. THAT’s where employers get the confidence to hire – from a lending institution that demonstrates that it, too, has confidence in a start-up business plan or the company’s expansion dreams.

To learn more about either position, contact Julann Jatczak, director of Impact Initiatives.

If you are one of the people who supported the neighborhood voting list initiative, tell her that you voted, and what’s more (wink, wink), let her know a voter told you about the openings (and you can produce the public records to prove it). Inform her that you’re not one of those folks who should be shunned or shamed this week. See how far that discriminating attitude, and 35 cents for gas, will get you in the Greater Madison community.

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