ben vandgrift · on living the dream

What Pronoun Are You Voting For?

When you visit the polls tomorrow, think about which pronoun you want to be voting for. Do you want to be voting for "we" or for "me"? Be honest about it, to yourself, and other people. If you can look in the mirror and say 'I am voting my self-interest and my self-interest alone', then own it.

I can't. A part of my Christianity demands that I look out for other people whenever I can–that means supporting government assistance for those who need it, health care for the masses, and love and understanding for everyone with a pulse. That means I voted early, and I voted for the President.


I support a social safety net, affordable health care, and equal rights for all genders, races, and sexual orientations - to live, to love, to be happy, and to die. This is my duty to God and my fellow man.

I support a society that values the advance of understanding about the universe we inhabit, and the bodies we live in, unencumbered by superstition and the fear of a dying priesthood. Our society should be the brightest, most knowledgeable, and most capable society on this planet. It should constantly seek to know more, to do more, and spread that knowledge as wide and far as possible. This is my duty to science and reason.

I support an administration that maintains a strong commitment to conservation, both in terms of the preservation of natural resources, and the development of new energy sources. This is my duty to planet on which I live, especially since our budget for space exploration isn't stellar (intended).

I support a government that spends wisely, that maintains enough military strength to be the strongest without being wasteful, that provides critical infrastructure services, regulates commerce fairly, and seeks to be a good global citizen while maintaining trade policies that do not hurt the workers, entrepreneurs, and corporations at home. This is my duty to my nation.

I listed these in priority order for a reason: God, humanity, reason, nature, and country. Each tier trumps everything below it.

Our current president isn't batting a thousand on my list, but his administration has put the things in front that I value. Our citizens are safer and better cared for after four years. The economy is on the mend, and by every measure is accelerating. My taxes are reasonable. Inflation remains in check.

His opponent has demonstrated time again that his priorities are more money and power for those who already have it, shrouding his message for the middle class in the trickle-down lie. It is a fickle policy agenda that stands against personal freedom and responsibility when it conflicts with the narrow-minded fundamentalist base that's taken over the Republican party. It is predicated on governing principles that have time and again been proven failures, that are ill-informed at best, willfully ignorant at worst, and demonstrate a fundamental failure to understand economics, strategy, and most critically, humanity.

It is a transparent power grab, dependent on the inability of his core constituency to do the basic research necessary to play his every statement false-the most cynical kind of politics.

I can't get behind that. Maybe you can.

Regardless of which ethos you support, go vote tomorrow. Decide on who's behalf you're voting ('me' v 'we'), then push the button or pull the lever or punch the chad, or whatever. Participate in our national story. Then, when the chips have fallen where they may, accept it, and be a citizen or the nation again, not a member of a party or an ideology.

Thanks for listening.

written: Nov 5 2012