For the last couple of days, I have been in the middle of writing two different posts. And as with most multi-tasking efforts, two posts take twice as long to write. But I’m breaking in with a different post today to refocus on something that personally affected me last night.

Brent and I went to see Arianna Huffington speak last night at the Lensic. When you buy tickets to see Arianna Huffington speak at the Lensic in Santa Fe, you know what you are going to get – a fire and brimstone sermon to the faithful. However, for me her speech was like a refocusing of the end goal; a coach pumping up her football team during halftime.

We all know that the goal is to win, but she reminded me that the costs of losing are so much more dire than just simply not winning. Losing this election and entering into additional years where the people – The People – have no voice in the type of political system that is imposed upon them is dire not just for our own liberties, but risks the further loosening of the foundational blocks that made this country so great for those that came before us. What legal professionals call “precedent-setting.” The systematic disintegration of the Constitution can be permanent if we do not act to stop this.

Therefore, today I make this pledge:

1. I will talk about the issues, and leave the petty stuff to People Magazine.

I will no longer talk about the candidate’s personal lives, their ages, their genders, their races, their hair color, or their pregnant daughters. I will no longer talk about how elitist someone is or how militant they come across, how many houses that they own or whether their wives are financing their election. Instead, I will talk about the issues. I will talk about what they say they will do, what they have said in the past that they would do, and how those things are and are not consistent. And I will talk about their experience and character, because those are also important indicators to their ability and track record of saying what they do and doing what they say.

2. I will criticize the media for showing both sides of an issue, yet not questioning the validity of the statements from the people who state them.

Journalists should be the watchdogs of history. They are in the best position to say when someone is rewriting one’s own history and rhetoric because they have the tapes.  As a country, we should have never gotten into a discussion about whether or not W had a war with Iraq on his agenda before 9/11 because we had the tapes of the second debate in 2000 where he said he was going to invade Iraq.

As a country, we should never get away with letting John McCain say “the fundamentals of our economy are strong” and then allow him to define “fundamentals” as “the American workers” when (A) we all know that that’s not what he originally meant, otherwise he would have said “workers” instead of “fundamentals” and (B) the workers of America cannot be “fundamentally strong” when the businesses that they work for are collapsing under the weight of an over-burdened and over-extended economy. We need both jobs and people to fill those jobs in order for the US economy to compete on a global level, much less aim for strong.

As a country, we should not allow Barack Obama to say that the surge in Iraq succeeded “beyond our wildest dreams” when the point of the surge was to calm violence long enough for the Iraqi government to stand up, get their bearings about them, and start controlling the violence themselves with their own government and their own police forces at the helm. This did not happen. Therefore, the surge in Iraq was a miserable failure. The media should be stating as much and reminding the American people X number of US soldiers have died and Xbillion dollars have been wasted since the surge was set in motion for a goal that never came to pass.

3. I will no longer entertain thoughts from friends, family, and strangers that voting for a 3rd party candidate is even an option in this election.

In 2000, Ralph Nader was blamed for “stealing” votes from Al Gore, which would have given Gore a clean win. At the time, 3rd party voting was our way of publicly protesting. “One vote doesn’t matter that much anyhow, and I’m pissed at the choices the top two parties have given me. I’ll show them.”

We are past this now. We know better. One of these two guys is going to win. Accept it. You have an option to throw your hat in for one of them. If you don’t like either of them and are officially “Undecided,” then do your civic duty. Research their platforms and plans on the top three issues that are most important to you, and decide based on whose plan you can stomach the most. Then vote for that person. A vote for a 3rd party candidate in THIS election is a vote to hand over your responsibility for the direction of this country to the rest of the voting public. Stop being a martyr and decide who you want more than the other. It is too important.

4. I will no longer have this blog hidden from the search engines.

Today, I admit that I kept this forum off of the search engines out of fear – fear that people won’t like what I have to say, fear that someone will harass me for my words, fear that I will say the wrong things and offend someone that I had no intention of offending. However, I have come to realize that I learn from other people who often say the wrong things and then have to think about, apologize for, and revise what they say. They learn to be more precise with their words and they learn to think more critically about a subject before spouting off about it.

I am taking a stand that opening myself up to the world and having strangers read my thoughts is less scary than the possibility of my voice not being heard – suppressing the possibility of changing someone’s mind about a topic and stifling the opportunity for intelligent discussion.