I was at the poll yesterday, handing out information cards for the Democratic Party, and next to me was a woman handing out voter cards for the GOP.
She and I worked well together, explaining to people entering the polls that we each had voter information that would prove helpful in the nonpartisan races for judges and school boards, among others.
"I'm the conservative and she's the progressive," she said as she approached people. Some took her card, some took mine.
One Democrat told me I shouldn't be cooperating with her. But people come to the polls leaning one way or another, and if people are unkind or disrespectful, it doesn't help anyone.
God knows there hasn't been a whole lot of information in the media on these races and people often don't know who stands for what in the nonpartisan races.
A responsible media might cover it, but the media are for-profit corporations for the most part, and the big companies have pared newsroom staffs to the bone. People are left to get their information from the glut of half-true and blatant misinforming ads that fuel giant media profits during election time.
Gail and I had a long talk between voters, and we disagreed on most points, but our conversation remained respectful and friendly. What surprised me, however, was the amount of misinformation she had, especially about health care, which is my area of expertise.
Romney and Ryan won't change Medicare, she said. The voucher to buy insurance from a private company just adds "choice," and no one over 55 will be affected.
Well, a lot of people I care about aren't 55 yet, and the "choice" they would have would only be about which private company gets to line their pockets with people's vouchers. More of the cost will fall to the consumer, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
I asked her how much of the policy she had read, and she said, "Bits and pieces."
She asked how much of the health care law I have read and I told her all of it. It wasn't my most fun weekend, but I did read it.
She was a little surprised, but she asked me for my take on "adding choice" to Medicare.
Any time you bring for-profit corporations into government, you add the profit factor, which increases the cost. That's why Medicare as it is spends 97 percent of the money it gets on direct services, while private companies have to be forced to spend 80 to 85 percent.
My friend tried to say that the Constitution forbids the federal government from taking all but a very few actions -- the power is left to the states. But our Constitution was written as a very simple document so as to allow it to be flexible and to grow with the new nation.
Why should one citizen of the United States be left to die while another citizen has the right to health care based on which state they live in?
My friend said, "They can move."
That's called voting with one's feet, I guess. The problem is that not everyone is willing or able to pull up roots and move from Mississippi to Massachusetts, leaving behind friends, family, employment and a community support system they were plugged into.
Citizens of the United States should have the same rights in every state, and the federal government is there to help ensure that.
My friend even claimed that government is not "We the People."
I had to ask her why, then, are those the first three words of the Constitution, and why are they written larger than the rest?
She and I disagreed on a lot of issues, including the rights of gay and lesbian people to marry legally. I pointed out that marriage is a legal contract and since her objection is religious, it doesn't belong in the law. She said that her objection is based on tradition. In her eyes, that's not the same thing.
But we did agree on some things -- we agreed that we're both human, and in this country, free to voice, and vote, our beliefs.
It's just a pity that people aren't being given the facts on the issues by a profit-driven corporate media complex.



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