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When you're casting your ballot, listen to what your inner voice tells you, Pamela Loxley Drake suggests.

COURTESY PHOTO - Pamela Loxley Drake"When you reach at the end of what you should know, you will be at the beginning of what you should sense." — Kahlil Gibran

My first time. A presidential election.

I was from that generation that sent boys who could not yet vote to Vietnam. I was a post-World War II child who had seen Nikita Khrushchev pound his shoe during the cold war, a president slain and a bay full of pigs. My first election. Just one vote. My vote.

Living in a small community as I had, you find that the bulk of your community believes the same things and votes the same way.

Choice of party was null and void. We only had one party in our neck of the woods.

So, I was one of them, right? Hmm. Let's try that again: "Right?" Another hmm.

Intuition. That niggling feeling you get when you do something and you think, "I should have gone with my first thought." That second glance as you lock the door thinking you might have forgotten something. All those times when you pause with a second thought.

That thought is your intuition kicking in, waving a red flag, telling you to pay attention. Make well-thought-out decisions. Do research.

Listen to your inner voice, for it is your truth.

As a child, I listened. Perhaps I was gathering fodder (good farm term) for my someday writing career. Some things I heard would cause me to listen a little closer or might even sound wrong to my young ears.

I had few experiences, so intuition did not come from what I knew. It came from a very special place inside of me that was my inner voice. Indeed, a voice that was much wiser than my years. My truth, my honesty, my guide.

While piling on higher numbers in my age bracket, I find that this inner voice is pretty darn awesome. I know that if I have second thoughts, that voice is jumping up and down saying, "I'm here. Listen to me! Think again!"

It is a very real voice: that short span of time that makes you pause when you hear something that just isn't quite right, something echoes in your head trying to tell you to change your mind, to listen more closely, to stand up for what your voice, you, really believe. Intuition.

Standing in that line, waiting to vote, I knew I would vote as my family always had. No decision to make. Or was there?

I voted. I punched the appropriate holes in the ballot. My inner voice moaned as I walked out of the booth.

This first failure was a lesson in truth, truth to myself and for my country. All my past relatives, my church and my community would never enter the voting booth with me again. I haven't let any of them or you down since.

Vote. It is a privilege and an honor.

Pamela Loxley Drake is a Beaverton resident and self-described lifelong "farm girl." You can contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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