Election Etiquette

Today begins early voting for the party primaries. To me it seems like this day has been a long time coming. Each election cycle, candidates begin earlier and earlier with this campaign season, even beginning prior to officially turning in their paperwork. I expect this on the national level. It takes an excessive amount of time to campaign across an entire nation. I’m more surprised when I see this taking place on the local level. Additionally, some forums turn into mud slinging instead of informational sessions, which benefits no one.

I currently serve on our local city council. I’ve been personally attacked. I’ve witnessed personal attacks on others. It needs to stop. Therefore, today’s post is all about election etiquette.

I’m not sure when we first entertained the notion that everyone we encounter is dying to know our position. Let me be the first to say, they’re not. Some of the people I respect the absolute most rarely volunteer information regarding politics. That is not at all implying they’re uninformed or that they don’t care. They volunteer. They donate. They seek to become informed. When asked, they’ll happily state who they support and why. However, at the end of the day, the also understand that some people dig their own graves. By being overly forceful in supporting someone, it is often a turnoff of that candidate to others who may still be in the decision-making phase.

If you feel the need to strongly support a candidate, make sure that you don’t dominate the conversation with only your candidate’s information. Be willing to listen. Be willing to learn. You may very likely stick to the person you were initially supporting. However, you may also learn why someone else doesn’t. When we ask for change simply for the sake of change, you may get what you ask for. By listening, you’re opening up the conversation to dialogue as opposed to a monologue.

This next bit is important to state. Don’t wear candidate-specific items while voting. You will likely be asked to leave if you wear anything supporting a particular candidate to the polls. Make sure you leave the campaigning at home or at least outside of the specified area during early voting and on election day.

Most of all, seek to be an informed voter, and don’t feel pressured to vote a particular way. Listen not only to what people say but how they say it.

There are no perfect candidates. None. However, there are people you will find who are willing to listen and willing to prioritize items that are of utmost importance to you.

If you are a candidate during this election cycle, I wish you luck and peace. Also, know that there are many other ways of contributing aside from obtaining an elected position. If you do not win, please consider this.

Thank y’all for your time!

 

Southern Traditions

I am absolutely mesmerized by various Southern traditions. The South is uniquely made up of various culture, creating a new one in its own right. I love this so much. However, it’s easy to be drawn into other cultures and fail to see what’s so special about your own.

For me, this is best highlighted by my own family’s Christmas Eve meal. Instead of having the same food each year and having that be our tradition, we explore new cultures and even time periods. In 2016 we had an Italian feast, and in 2017 we were transported back to the 1950s. This is our personal tradition.

I’ve always been one to romanticize what others do. After watching Pocahontas, I desparately wanted to be Native American. It’s this way with everything, though. I think it’s what makes etiquette so special to me. Traditions are the foundation of who we are, making traditions a cornerstone of culture. I get such a thrill learning about new people and new cultures.

I had the opportunity when I was in undergrad to study abroad in China. Again, I was struck with wanderlust. I genuniely felt sad at the thought of leaving this world without ever having seen it.

While we may not be able to travel extensively now, I enjoy bringing other parts of the world to my family.

However, it’s also important for me to not forget about the culture I live in. I mean something on a more micro level, though, than Southern. The South has several regionally distinct areas that all have their own sub-culture and traditions.

Today I want to highlight a favorite tradition of mine here locally in Hopkins County, Texas – Hopkins County Stew. It’s amazing. If you’ve never tried it, I enjoy mine best with crackers crushed in it to soak up some of the broth, loaded with cheese and a side of pickles (which may or may not also end up in the stew). It’s simple and comforting. If you’ve never made it before, this cold weather is the perfect time to start! Enjoy! Learn more about our annual stew contest! Fun fact: I worked this event the day before Grant was born!

P.S. If you try it, let me know what you think!