Sunday, August 7, 2016

"Oh, Kaye!" Chats About Balance

Most of the time my world is one of casual content.

Not a lot of radical ups or downs. Just the usual things life tosses at all of us. 

That is not to say that many of those things can't be damn tough, or that some are not cause for great joy. 

But, in my case, most of them are part of a normal, fairly constant and consistent life of sameness.  And I'm good with that.  There are people who live daily life dramas of extremes that exhaust and bore me and are, I think, unnecessary except for the ego of the dramatist.  'Course, that's just my opinion.

Recently, however, I've had some delightful ups.  

And some devastating downs.

And I find myself thinking more of balance.


A word I'm using more and thinking of more than I once did.

And I think it comes with age.

As we age we gain wisdom. If we don't, we're to be pitied.  (Again - just my opinion).

We learn a bit about acceptance as we get older.  We don't really have a choice.

I've been grappling a little with accepting some things I don't have the power to change.

But I'm also accepting the challenge of standing up for things I just might be able to help change.

Challenge is good, I think

Change is often necessary.

And, when it is necessary, I am always up for it.

I do not ever want to be one of those people who thinks everything in life is written is stone just because that's the way it's always been and can't be changed.



I'm just going to take a deep breath and say this.

If you're one of those people saying you're NOT going to vote this November because you're unhappy with your choices?

Then you're part of the problem.

"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new."

The above quote has been attributed to Socrates, to world-class gymnast Dan Millman, and to an attendant at an all-night gas station. 

Take your pick. 

But heed the message.

It's time to start building the new. 

We're not just voting for a new president in November.

There are choices on your local ballot that are extremely important.

I hope you'll remember that.

'Cause if you're one of those people who say your vote doesn't mean anything, or that you're disgusted with politics in general, or disgusted by both the presidential candidates or any of those tired old excuses, then I would suggest you sit back and maybe re-read some history. 

And think about "balance."

As a noun -

"an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady."

"a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions."

Or as a verb -

"keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall."

"offset or compare the value of (one thing) with another."

Balance in our lives is important.

There needs to be, in my opinion, some balance brought back into our government.

Being an active grassroots volunteer for the past year has given me a great deal of personal satisfaction and gratification.  

My local party, The Watauga County Democrats, has accomplished great things.  Has gained attention at the state level, and has been featured, more than once, on the Rachel Maddow Show.  

I'm proud to be a small part. 

I'll be working in the county headquarters office in downtown Boone from now until election day.

If you're in the neighborhood, drop by and say "Hey!" 

P. S. - The above statement is one issued by "Oh, Kaye!" and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jungle Red or any of its seven smart and sassy crime fiction writers.


  1. Ah, it’s wonderful to have the right to vote for the people who hold office, even though I occasionally wish there was an option to choose “none of the above.”
    Around here we’ve always said, “If you don’t vote, you don’t get to complain about the people who are elected.”

  2. I too am volunteering this year in our Monroe County Democratic Committee headquarters, although not as much as I'd like. Thank you, Kaye, for your efforts in your part of the world.

    For years I've been saying that local elections are the most important and the place where your vote counts the most. In politics, change comes from the bottom up. Whoever heard of the king starting a revolution?

    My grandmother marched for women's righto vote. I would besmirch her memory if I didn't get butt out of chair and stand up for the things I believe in, the values I learned at her knee.

    In this day of immediate gratification, it takes only a couple of clicks to be informed about every candidate and issue. There is no excuse for failing to exercise your constitutional right to vote.

    (Unless you happen to be a Trump Republican. Then you should stay home and clean your guns, just in case "they" come for you. Pftt.)

    Good for you, Kaye, for addressing this elephant in the living room.

  3. We had a situation in a nearby community with vacant lots (after the big economic crisis of 2008). Lots of vacant lots, summer time, lots of grass and weeds, the city doing nothing. A man in a neighborhood took it upon himself to ride his mower over to the nearest vacant lot and start mowing. He got arrested. Then he got elected to office. Local level politics--it's easy to see who's getting things done!

  4. Thank you, Kaye for your post.

    Both balance and democracy are important. We take it for granted that we have the right to elect our own governments. Voter apathy/inaction is rampant here in Canada, too. Voter turnout was at record lows at our most recent federal elections in 2011 and 2014 at 61%, and 65%, respectively.

    While I do not live in the USA, we will be affected by the outcome of the November election here in Canada.

  5. And can I add I'm grateful to (almost) anyone who is willing to run for office and makes a life of public service. (Or a cop or a teacher...) Yes, vote. It's a gift.

  6. Yes please do vote--we all need our say, no matter how inconsequential it might seem...

  7. More and more these days, it seems a brave act just to admit that you are a part of one party or the other, let alone to actively work towards individual candidates. So brava, Kaye. We'll be with people next weekend, many of whom hold diametrically opposite political viewpoints, and I've been nervous about it for weeks because of the current climate.

    However, the beauty of the United States is that everyone gets a vote. One. Singular. Someone with billions of dollars doesn't get to vote more times than you or I do, no matter how much money they throw at a candidate. And we don't have to tell anyone whose box we fill in/check off/pull a lever for, it's between us and our conscience.

    We don't all have to be like the supremely brave person in the poor, rural county where we have our farm, a place that consistently votes blood red, who has a big old Hillary sign in her (had to be a woman, I think) front yard. Right on the main road. It keeps getting stolen, and she keeps replacing it, bless her heart. If that isn't an act of bravery I don't know what is. And maybe she will spur conversations that will sway hearts and minds, and maybe she will get some people to go to the polls for the first time in their lives, even if it is to "cancel" that lady's vote. Either way, democracy wins, and one more person gets to participate in the process we are all privileged to share.

  8. Women before us fought hard for the vote. It's important, no matter how we feel about the candidates, that we honor their sacrifice and vote. As Kaye rightly notes, there are a lot of important local elections going on too.

    Thank you for using that fine old fashioned word "bunk." It's been a while since I heard it. My father used it a lot, "bunk" and its big brother, "bunkum." It sat well in my eyes and ears.

  9. People pay far too little attention to local elections. Voter turnout at off year elections that select the people whose decsions have the most impact on your daily life is often very low. Good citizens need to be engaged and informed at every level to ensure good government. Support your local officals whe they do things well and let them know when they're going in the wrong direction.

  10. Mornin', everyone!

    Whew. I was pretty nervous about posting this piece, so thank you all for your support.

    AND for sharing your own views and stories.

    As so many of you mentioned, women before us fought hard. They deserve our continued support for what they did.

    Joan - Exactly!!! No vote equals no complaining!

    Ann - Thank you. And I thank you for your efforts as well.

    FChurch - I LOVE this story. Love it! And I would very much like to shake this man's hand.

    Grace - Thank you so much. I'm with you. Voter apathy is shameful - I did not realize, however, it was as bad in Canada. Still, you have one heck of a leader, I must say.

    Karen - Donald and I have family on both sides also. It's hard. I was very nervous about going to Cambridge, MD for my 50th high school reunion, knowing I was most definitely in the minority with a crowd of people I disagree with, but love deeply. It was a most perfect weekend in every way. Respect and love go a long way to easing the way. I love your elderly neighbor lady and her Hillary sign! Oh my - what a brave soul she is!! If you get a chance to talk to her, please tell her she has a huge fan in Boone, NC

    Kait - isn't that a perfect word?! One of my former bosses from a long time back used it and it just seems to work in SO many instances.

    Hallie and Lucy/Roberta - Thank you. I love Jungle Red.

  11. I can't figure out how to actually sign in, so I signed in under Anonymous. However, my name is Jeanine Cronin.

    I am one of those people who are contemplating not voting in this election. I have been a Democrat all my life and there is no way I would ever vote for Trump, but I am struggling over voting for Hillary. I will not feel overly guilty if I actually end up not voting (or marking my ballot with a huge "X" across the entire thing) because we, the people, do not actually elect the president and vice president. The Electoral College elects them, they are not elected through the "popular vote" of the people. There have been 4 times in history when the Electoral College went against the popular vote and elected presidents that the people did not vote for. The latest was Al Gore/George W. Bush.


  12. S. E. Warwick, I so agree. I'm hoping though that that's now changing.


  13. Appreciate you stopping by, Jeanine.

    I'm not here to argue or debate, but simply to state my opinion. Happy to have you share yours.

  14. Hi Kaye. Sorry to be late to the party. We got up this morning and started in first thing to bathe (and dry and brush) our two dogs, and boy is that a Sunday project. So I'm just sitting down to enjoy your post with a cup of tea (and two very fluffy German shepherds.)

    Thank you for posting this, and for reminding everyone how important it is to vote. We have this discussion often in our house, as hubby tend to belong to the "one vote doesn't matter" club--or at least in the "one vote doesn't matter in our county or in Texas" club. And I say that whether it matters or not, it's our civic duty. We are so privileged to be able to vote. And even though our system has many flaws, I have yet to see a country come up with a better one. (Except maybe Canada:-))

    I am also making a resolution to be more involved in my local and state elections, and to write to my representatives.

    We are not, however, doing bumper stickers or yard signs. Although I admire Karen's little lady with her Hillary sign, I think political signs encourage divisiveness. Whatever happens in this election, we have to get along with our neighbors afterwards--many of whom most likely don't agree with us.

    HOWEVER, for the first time I can remember in a presidential campaign, only one house in our entire neighborhood has signs out (HUGE homemade Trump signs and flags) and this person has had a reputation for years for her very unpleasantly expressed political views. So maybe (always the optimist here) we are seeing a small scale effort at people making an effort to be civil and reasonable. I hope so...

  15. Hi,, Debs!! Thanks so much for stopping by. I love your optimism and I too feel as though we're seeing the beginnings of a sea change in that people do seem to be making an effort to be civil and reasonable. More, I think, than we were in the not so distant past.

  16. Years ago I decided that one should steer clear of politics and religion when yakking with friends and neighbors. Do you remember when people wore campaign buttons and no one gave them grief? Only jokes? I wish we could return to those times of courtesy.
    Oh well. I am so disgusted with the national parties that I cannot be part of either of them. I have chosen individuals to vote for for years now. I try to ignore what party they may belong to. I'm for dissolving the parties and forming new ones that more accurately represent what they stand for. Mugwumps and Whigs? I applaud all of you who are working at the grassroots to improve our ways of life. Perhaps we can defy physics with a trickle up effect of honesty and good citizenship.


  17. Perhaps those who think one vote does not matter should remember the Gore/Bush Presidential election. That election was decided by a 5/4 decision from the Supreme
    Court. One voice. One vote.

  18. I almost cry every time I vote. We are so lucky to live here! There is absolutely nothing to be gained by not voting --the only point you make is that you are a non-participant. Thank you Kaye!

    Sorry to chime in so late -- crazy day. Xxx

    1. Amen sister. I suspect those who are refusing to vote this year would be at the head of the protest if disenfranchised. Shaking head


  19. Pat D. - I do remember when people wore campaign buttons and no one gave them grief. That was back in a time before there was so much money in politics - money which fuels it to be a daily part of our lives rather than a once every four years election, sadly.

    Coralee - I agree.

  20. Dear Kaye, thank you for your beautiful post today. I'm in bed with the flu and would have missed it without a notice from Debs to check it out. I'm so glad she did.

    I'm an involved voter, since I started volunteering in local candidate office when I was a kid. My boyfriend joined me in high school, and I notice that he is running for office, himself, this year after a lifetime of volunteering.

    Debs, thank you for the heads up and well said, yourself.

    Kaye, well done. Well done. Well done and beautiful.

  21. Back when I reached voting age, the age was 21. I have never missed an election, even when I wondered if my one vote could make a difference. I believe strongly that voting is both a privilege and an obligation. Voting, paying taxes, obeying laws: these are things responsible adults DO. It's always disappointing to find out that a long-time friend or acquaintance has never even registered to vote.

    Deb Romano

  22. After spending a wonderful, busy weekend with my daughter and granddaughters going back to my hometown to gather with my family (lots of cousins for them to be with) there, I can tell you lots of reasons for me to vote. They are Olivia, Isabella, Jarred, Spencer, Libby, Jax, Isabella, Bailey, Blake, Xander, and Krory. These are my granddaughters, great-nieces, and great-nephews. I want them to have the best future possible, and that means that the least I need to do is vote for who I think will help mold that future. I will probably do more this election, and, Kaye, I am so impressed and proud of you in the role you've undertaken to do your part and more. I always wear that "I voted" sticker with pride and will do so with great gusto this November.

  23. Ann in Rochester - I will see your Amen and raise you one. Yes, I think probably you're right.

    Deb - oh my, there have been those elections, more than one, when we've all wondered about just how important our one vote was, I agree. But to not cast it? Unthinkable.

    Kathy Reel - best reasons on God's green earth!! I love you, Kathy.

  24. I put my I Voted sticker on my phone, so when I held it up, it showed. When I got a new phone, I was so bummed to see it go. Cannot wait to get a new one! I might have to vote absentee--has anyone done that?

    Kaye--love you!

    And all of you.

  25. I voted absentee once, when I realized I would be on a business trip over Election Day. This is after I missed voting, my one and only time since I turned 18 in 1969, because of a business trip.

    But that was probably 12 years ago, and I have no idea what Ohio's absentee ballot is like now. Maybe like the early voting one. Doesn't Massachusetts have early voting, Hank?

  26. I vote absentee all the time. I can check on the candidates position online as I vote. No standing in long lines, no being bombarded by enthusiastic supporters. I love it. In my county, once a person requests an absentee ballot, they remain with this format unless they cancel. I believe everyone in WA state votes by mail in.

  27. I voted absentee in a Democratic primary in the 90s. I was leaving for vacation a few days before the primary. It was easy! My sister is a permanent absentee voter, first because of being home bound and now because of living in a nursing home. She tells me that candidates visit the nursing home during election season!

    Deb Romano