Privilege Blog

It’s Never Too Late To Participate, Or, Saturday Morning at 6:11am

Today’s post will necessarily be short. In about an hour and a half I’ll be getting into my car to drive across San Francisco Bay, to meet my sister in a BART parking lot. From there we will drive to Tracy, a town a little east of the Bay Area. We’re registering voters.

I haven’t been to Tracy since I was 17, when I visited my then-boyfriend’s home town for the Miss San Joaquin Valley pageant. I remember some of the costumes – flounced skirts, maybe vegetable ornamentation? In those days it was the moral equivalent of a trip to Thailand. It has always been home for others, and seems much closer now.

I was thinking that’s something we might all agree on, that the more our citizens participate in our elections, the more results will represent what the country believes. So, although I’ve never done anything like this in my life, off I go. There is a small matte sort of satisfaction in walking the walk.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone, with civic engagement galore, if you’ve got the time.

44 Responses

  1. Good for you! I wish you every success, and I am sure you will meet a lot of amazing and memorable people on the way.

  2. Welcome to the valley. I think you will find Tracy has changed a great deal. It used to be another small valley farm town, but now it’s very suburban, and populated by Bay Area commuters. Good luck in your registration endeavors.

  3. We may all agree, as you say, that “the more our citizens participate in our elections, the more results will represent what the country believes.” But we certainly do *not* all agree that that’s a good thing, as shown by the numerous attempts, in recent years as in the past, to disenfranchise citizens, and particularly members of minority groups. I’ll hold back from sermonizing further on the topic, although I find the attempts to suppress voting to be reprehensible, and instead will confine myself to thanking you for helping to counteract those efforts.

    1. @MJ, You are welcome.

      I think if we believe in our country’s highest founding principles, we ought to believe in representation for all citizens.

  4. A second “Good For You!”

    I have a funny story to tell about being registered to vote (many years ago) by my next-door neighbor in Berkeley (both of us in studio apartments and in grad school), who ultimately became my husband – not that you have those kind of expectations with your sisterly foray into voter registration!

    We do a lot of voter reg right in our own area, thanks to townhouse developments along the main through road, and since my aforementioned husband is in his 3rd Term as a Township Councilman (our local gov’t), we get lots of questions about what is going on politically and civically. Hope you are prepared to answer those kind of questions, too…

    The more people who vote, the more truly representative our government (at any level) will be. Efforts to suppress the vote, or to actively disenfranchise certain citizens or classes of citizens, are reprehensible and un-American.

    Voting is both a privilege and a duty. Democracy dies when citizens do not participate in its responsibilities.

    (I will now get off my soapbox…)

    1. @Victoire, It was an excellent soapbox in my opinion. And what a wonderful story about how you met your husband. And that he’s still civically engaged.

      I did get a question I couldn’t answer, I will prepare more next time. Because we plan to go again.

  5. Another joining the chorus to say how much I admire you for putting your beliefs into action. There’s no chance for our government to actually represent us unless we vote (and educate ourselves on the issues and candidates beyond sound bites). And I also second what other commenters have said about systemized voter suppression–reprehensible!

    1. @Susan B, Thank you. I kinda had to do something, being retired, having backed off the blog into writing a book which is such a solitary activity. So I am not wildly admirable, but, as I said, I feel pretty OK about at least walking some walk. <3

  6. So glad that you are doing this. And, yes, you have my admiration for backing up your beliefs with action.

  7. Good for you! I hope you will also urge them to become educated voters. The nonpartisan League of Women Voters is a good source. Too many people base their vote on appearance, name recognition and other factors that have nothing to do with qualifications or issues!

    1. @Lynn, That’s a good point. I didn’t do any urging of education, but I surely hope some other people are doing so.

  8. Safe travels and wishing you a successful day. Does one good to hear of your efforts : )

  9. What I admire is the willingness to not ignore something which might not directly impact you. I hope it’s a good day for you Lisa.


    1. @luci, That is a very kind thing to say. I guess it’s too hard for me to feel OK when so many can’t. It was a good day. xox.

    1. @dottoressa, Thank you. It does feel like you just have to take a step. Your walk may go nowhere, but the more people on the path the more likely someone will get somewhere good.

  10. I recently felt a sense of civic pride when I attended Candidates’ Night featuring eight candidates vying for the position of Supervisors-Third District. Not only did I feel better for having done it, I knew exactly who I was voting for come June 5.

    A few days later I wrote to the General Manager of our water and sewer district extending my support for her efforts to rein in over-consumption of water. Water is such a precious commodity but for most 20-minute showers are a must. They’ll re-think that attitude when the lake runs dry next September/October with no rain in sight. I hope it helped our General Manager to know some consumers believe she is on the right track.

    1. @Gail, Thank you for taking that time to learn and to let your GM know what you think. It’s clear that if we don’t speak up officials begin to operate, unsurprisingly, in a bubble.

  11. Grassroots baby! Good for weeds, unproductive fruit trees and ineffective politicians. You go girl! I hope many potential voters are turning up to be counted. Happy Voter Registering in Tracy, San Joaquin County.

    1. @Amelia, Grassroots baby! You get such a feel for a place doing this – and you realize, people may vote nationally for a Presidency, but they vote super-locally for their Congressperson, and it’s fascinating.

  12. It’s just past midnight on your voter-reg Saturday here in Princeton, so it’s 9 pm on your coast. How did it go? I hope you rewarded yourself with a good dinner and a glass of wine, and that you sleep the sleep of the just tonight. Good job!

    1. @Victoire, I ate, I drank some wine, I slept. Thank you. It went well -at first we were clear we weren’t doing it right but we kept conferring, my sister and I, and we want to go back to make use of what we learned. Thank you:).

  13. Hope the day went well. We have local elections here later this week – I shall be up early to do my bit – and for the first time ever I took part in leafleting on behalf of the party of my choice. In the past few years I have joined a party, displayed posters in my window and now this. I wonder why I didn’t do it before. Time, I imagine, to consider things outside my immediate sphere. Voting should be something that is a civic duty, not a negotiable option.

  14. I used to register voters for many years, beginning when I was about 5 with my mother doing it. It’s very gratifying. I was very politically active for so long, I’m afraid I’ve backed off – just when I shouldn’t. I worked hard for Hillary Clinton, and I’m still reeling from that and other political losses. I really applaud your efforts.

    1. @KSL, Thank you. On the other hand, this is the first time in my life I’ve done anything political, so maybe it’s my turn to fight and yours to rest.

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