Making a Difference
The other day while I was at work an older lady came through my checkout line. She had on one of those stickers they give you when you vote early, the nice patriotic one with an American flag that reads, “I voted!” on it. I noticed that (who I am assumed was) her husband did not have one on. In the sake of trying to start conversation, I asked him if he also voted. He exclaimed that he did and quickly fished out the sticker from the front pocket of his shirt to prove his statement. They then asked if I had voted to which I responded that I had not because I was new to this area of San Marcos, TX and was not registered here yet.
The lady then proceeded to tell me that I should get on it, and make a difference. She admitted to me that her generation has “really screwed up things” in this country and that it was up to my generation of peers to make it “right again”. She told me how they once thought racially separating blacks from whites was right and that they made it more difficult for women in the workplace and prevented homosexuals from being as free as all people should be. “I didn’t realize until I was an old lady how wrong we all were and how wrong a lot of us old folks still are,” she continued to purge. She said what we needed was a fair and tolerant electorate which us young people “have pretty much got down”.
I didn’t think much of that conversation until later when a conversation with a few new friends brought up the subject of politics and how making a difference doesn’t occur when candidates and citizens sling mud at the other side to constantly try to convince the electorate that one side is correct. You see, it isn’t about sides. It’s about what’s fair to the people. It’s about what gives us back the liberties we were born having. Gerrymandering, ad campaigns, and an apathetic citizen perspective is what has brought us down. When only a third of the country votes and that third is so misinformed about what is going on in society and how it is affecting real life people, that’s where we hypothesized most of the problems with politics lie. The system isn’t broken; the system is old. It is rotting into waste by the carelessness of the people entrusted to keep it shined up and running like an old show-car.
But no matter what, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the last words that woman spoke to me. “It’s too late for us old folks to make a change. We’ve screwed it up too badly and we don’t know what we’re doing, but soon we’ll be dead and so will all the ideology of those fuckers in Congress. You young people are smart and yall are the future and can make it a better place to live. So vote. Don’t make the same mistakes we made.”
She can say all she wants to about old folks fucking it all up and not knowing what they’re doing, but I know at least one little old lady that’s still making a difference in checkout lanes at small grocery stores.