Taking Sides in a Voting Dilemma

I remember being exposed to the importance of taking part in the American voting process even as a young child. I only knew that there were two sides from which an adult could make a choice and they were called Democrats or Republicans. As a youngster, I didn’t know anything about party platforms or politics.

However, I do remember in particular that my paternal grandparents not only voted on Election Day but were workers at their polling site. I don’t remember any political conversations between Mom and Pop Carlisle or among my aunts and uncles at family gatherings. This probably had nothing to do with shielding the children from a certain type of discussion. It simply was because one’s religion and politics were not subjects for talk within a group. We liked our relatives. We liked our friends. And we weren’t going to get into a discussion where differences of opinion might lead to uncivil comments.

I recall one time as an older child, when a lot of the extended family was together, a humorous comment made by my Uncle Bill Carlisle (singer, songwriter, and Grand Ol’ Opry performer). Smiling from ear to ear and a chuckle in his voice, he said, “Well, Mom and Pop always voted in every election. She went and voted the straight Republican ticket. And, you know what, he voted the straight Democratic ticket!” We all laughed heartily thinking that each vote had effectively cancelled out the other! Yet we knew that their political thinking did not hinder them from voting in every election while continuing to respect and love each other for their entire lives.

I realize now that my grandmother Mary Ellen Boes Carlisle, along with other females, was not granted the right to vote until three years after her youngest child, my dad, was born. As I remember her as a strong matriarchal figure, I imagine she was right there with other women in 1920 celebrating the ratification of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing that women would not be discriminated against in the right to vote because of their gender.

The 2020 presidential election is gearing up to have the greatest number ever of American citizens voting. Many of these votes will reflect persons identifying themselves as Blue Democrats or Red Republicans. In the vein of disagreeing politically and/or philosophically with our friends, relatives, and work associates–while leaving room for civility and a common ground of agreement–I would like to share with you my laughable limerick* VOTING DILEMMA.  

Below are these few lines I’ve written in this poetic form. It good-naturedly pokes fun at how we sometimes arrive at our decisions in the political process; yet thank God for America where we are free to make those choices! 

I was inspired to write it in 2018 when I happened to see on ABC News twin young women with politically opposing views who were running for similar positions in local government in Michigan. Even though their thought processes had led them to different perspectives, they had their arms locked around each other as one of them said, “Remember the right wing and the left wing belong to the same bird.” So in the vein of disagreeing with our friends, relatives, and work associates while leaving room for civility and a common ground of agreement I would like to share it with you. Remember it is not meant to have a serious theme. It’s just an amusing bit of poetry!

VOTING DILEMMA (a limerick*)

Sue left home to go out to vote
With both blue votes and red in her tote.
“Let me see,” Susie said,
Vote with blue? Vote with red?
Can my brain match the tint of my coat?”

A Laughable Limerick Revisited
Connie Carlisle Polley, 2020

* In case you are interested in the poetic form I used, a limerick has only five lines and its rhyme scheme is AABBA. In other words, the first, second, and fifth lines end in words which rhyme with each other. And the third and fourth lines end in words that rhyme with each other. The first line introduces the main character and place. The fifth line either comes to some sort of conclusion or simply repeats the first line. There is also a strict pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. So, as you can see, the composer of a limerick has the parameters of this tight little box in which to write. 

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