Election 2010: Be sure to vote

This morning, I participated in that most American of institutions. I voted.

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I participated in that most democratic of American institutions this morning. I voted.

No one besides my mother comes to a materials handling blog to learn what I think about politics, even on a day that many predict will be historic. If you’re expecting a defense of Obama, a shout out to the Republicans or a hot, steaming cup of throw the bums out tea party rhetoric, you’ll probably be disappointed. That’s not my style. While I will tell you at the end of this column how I voted, my politics are pretty vanilla.

Going into the booth this morning, two items I’d read over the last couple of days weighed heavily on me.

The first was It’s morning in India, a remarkable column by Tom Friedman in Sunday’s New York Times about a recent trip to India. You can click on the link to read the whole column and draw your own conclusions, but here are the paragraphs that caught my attention.

”India and America are both democracies, a top Indian official explained to me, but emotionally they are now ships passing in the night. Because today the poorest Indian maid believes that if she can just save a few dollars to get her kid English lessons, that kid will have a better life than she does. So she is an optimist. “But the guy in Kansas,” he added, “who today is enjoying a better life than that maid, is worried that he can’t pass it on to his kids. So he’s a pessimist.”

Yes, when America lapses into a bad mood, everyone notices. After asking for an explanation of the Tea Party’s politics, Gupta remarked: “We [in India] have moved away from a politics of grievance to a politics of aspiration. Where is the American dream? Where is the optimism?”

The second was an e-mail from my father, summing up the current election cycle. My Dad isn’t as eloquent as Tom Friedman – who is – but at 83 he’s old enough to have seen and done it all.

“The reality of it all—there’s too much political rhetoric and not enough common sense. We have too much Republican & Democrat & not enough: We’re here as Americans. Let’s work as Americans to get the job done. ‘Nuff said.”

So, how did I vote? Well, I live in New Hampshire, a state that is famous for its retail politics. We’re small enough that I have met many of the candidates for national office, and I’ve known several of the candidates for state office on both sides of the spectrum for more than 20 years. Before I pulled the lever, I put aside the candidates’ party affiliations and asked myself which best represented the politics of aspiration and optimism. And, with my Dad’s e-mail in mind, I wondered who was most likely to put aside rhetoric and work to get the job in front of us done.

I voted American.

As my Dad puts it: ‘Nuff said.

About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

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