This is probably one of the longest posts I've written, but I had a lot to say. And really it could have been a lot longer :) After reading this, I hope you'll also read this from my cousin, Katie.
If you ask people who really know me, they would probably tell you I'm a laid back person but that I can also get pretty heated and intense when it comes to things I'm passionate about. I used to consider myself passionate about politics. It's hard not to be when you have a clear sense of how you want to live your life and what you want your future to look like. But during the past few years something changed.
I have never missed an election. When I'm asked as a citizen to vote, I do my research and I place my vote. That goes for local, state and national elections. But where I used to enjoy and seek out a good political debate, now I would rather just stay out of it. I believe this has happened for a few reasons. One, quite frankly its scary right now. It became hard not to get frustrated, upset and worried, and I didn’t want to become that angry person. I was forced to find a balance of being involved enough to do my part because our elected officials do have the ability to help shape our futures, but I also had to remind myself that my trust and future is in God and I will always have the ability to go after what I want even if the road to get there becomes more or less difficult. Nobody has the ability to take away my joy and my peace. Second, I've always felt it's much easier to attack someone for making what you think is the wrong decision to fix a problem but how often do you have the solution that will fix everything? Things are so complex right now and there are so many layers to every issues, I do not envy anyone in those positions called to solve the problem. When you're not looked to for the answer, you can choose to only vocalize the ones you're confident about and simply shy away and avoid the ugly and complex and confusing ones.
So that's where I am right now. I am not apathetic by any means, but I found my energy better spent by focusing on what I can control and how I will build my future, not wondering and crossing my fingers and hoping that the entire country will start making decisions as I see they should be made.
With that said, I wanted to bring up the Governor's race. The Republican candidate Nathan Deal happens to be my uncle. His wife, my Aunt Sandra, is my dad's older sister. I don't feel the need to re-write everything that's being said about Nathan. Hopefully you've seen his ads and mailers that simply tell you about his life of service and what he plans on doing for the State of Georgia. You know, the things that I would assume an educated voter would want to know about. But more then likely, if you spend any time on the Internet, you've seen the attacks on who he is as a person. I try to avoid most of them. I know how elections work, they can get ugly and I knew to prepare for this. But man, is there anything more frustrating then seeing something in print that is completely skewed and misleading about someone you love and respect? And what’s even more frustrating? It’s the number of people who are perfectly willing to take it as solid truth, period. I've been praying about my attitude towards all of this and how or even if I am supposed to respond. It seems that the media and Atlanta newspapers are not interested in Nathan's political views, the issues he supports, his past votes and accomplishments in Congress, and his thought-out plan and vision for Georgia. Apparently they only want the personal stuff. Well, I thought I could help them out on that.
Growing up I loved our visits to Uncle Nathan and Aunt Sandra’s. We’d wind up the long dirt and gravel road to the old A-frame house tucked in the bottom of Skitt’s Mountain. My memories of Uncle Nathan usually include him in a tucked in button down shirt with jeans and cowboy boots. The house was full of family, laughter, music and food. It was also common to find a place to nap after one of those full meals!
Something I’ve always been most proud of is the family I come from. I’ve written about them often and I talk about my family even more. I do realize that for the majority of voters, you don’t get to truly know the candidates and where they’re from and what they’re made of. But I can tell you, from how Sandra and Nathan were raised, to how they raised their children; you won’t find a better stock of loving, hard-working, honest, generous, respectable people. And though you might not have the chance to sit down and talk to my Uncle Nathan, find out for yourself what he stands for. Visit his website, Nathan Deal, and see if his vision for Georgia doesn’t sound like a place you’d like to live. And if you’re not sure about something, there’s a link where you can ask HIM about what he thinks and what he plans to do. And not just Nathan, but I wish you could get to know the whole family! I heard Aunt Sandra speak at a Ladies Republican lunch and she started off by saying she wasn’t good at the speeches, but she sure loved to talk! She loves people and she loves good old fashion hospitality and conversation. Sandra was the oldest of 4 kids and her and my Aunt Brenda helped raise my dad. They are such reminders of my grandmother, Ida Lou, and I cherish my time with them. Sandra makes cornbread just like Grandma did and can teach you how to make the best pot of greens! And I wish you could get to know their four children, my cousins Jason, Mary Emily, Carrie, and Katie. Being older then me, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t admire and look up to them. You probably won’t find a set of siblings more different! They’re a mix of dreamers and doers who have all gone after what’s important to them and what makes them feel alive, and that’s what we need more of. It's clear that the example set was to follow what you're heart called you to do despite the sacrifice and cost. But even with differences, this family, my family, will always come together. Unconditional love was not only taught but was and is lived out everyday.
And I’ll be honest, part of me wouldn’t mind if he wasn’t elected. Simply because I know the attacks won’t stop. And unfortunately I feel like most of our country simply wants to look at the elected officials as either a savior or a scapegoat. Nathan is simply an educated leader and a selfless servant, has been his entire life. But selfishly, I want nothing more than for Nathan Deal to be the next Governor. Not because he’s my uncle, although because he is I have the luxury of knowing down to my core that he is the best man for this position. I want him elected because my husband is a small business owner who has worked for everything we have and fights to maintain it. I want him elected because in March I will give birth to our first child. I believe with everything in me that Nathan wants to help lead Georgia to a better future, the kind that I hope and pray will be available to my child.
My family and I have done our parts in letting people know why Nathan should be elected, but it is in God’s hands. My prayer is that our state is ready to be led in the right direction, and if so the right decision will be made. If not, my hope and my future will still remain in the Lord. And thankfully I know that Uncle Nathan and Aunt Sandra feel the same way.
My final thought is that I will continue to pray for the campaign process to change. Wouldn’t it be nice for all the other candidates to spend their money, time, and energy simply letting people know who they are, what they stand for, what their vision is and how they plan on realistically achieving those? I would love to see we the people demand that we have had enough of trying to slander and skew any piece of information to convince the voters why they should not vote for the other guy. Wouldn’t their time and ours be better used if they simply told us why we should vote for them?