a confession I’d rather not confess – but I will anyway

share with friends

Confession:

I have never voted in a presidential election.

There. I said it.

Now before you get all judgy on me, continue on.

This is not a proud piece of information to share. I’m actually quite embarrassed and ashamed. While I’ve been eligible to vote for the past four elections, I have not.

First, let me tell you why.

1. I find politics to be over-my-head. I’m sure if I put any amount of time into researching policies, watching the news, visiting political websites and reading current event publications, I would feel differently {or would I?!}. Instead, I spend my time researching recipes, watching Disney Jr., visiting design websites and reading novels.  Politics are just not part of my daily routine and for the most part, I don’t wish they were.

2. I find politicians hard to trust. I don’t know, maybe it’s all those terrible attack ads or maybe the fact that we all talk much bigger than we can walk, but politicians don’t come off as genuine and they rarely seem to keep their promises. Which makes it hard to really get behind anyone.

3. Since I don’t have a whole lot of information to go off of, and I don’t particularly feel strongly for any one candidate, I figure I should leave the voting up to the more-informed.

{I can hear all of you political-types groaning at your screen right now. Especially my cousin. And my husband.}

And so, for the past four elections, I have. I’ve left the voting up to the more-informed.

This time around I’ve felt convicted. Very convicted.

How dare I take this freedom for granted?

How many women, both before our time and throughout the modern world, would give anything for the opportunity to vote?

Yet here I am, tossing my ballot into the recycle bin because I don’t take this seriously. I don’t think my vote counts. I don’t care.

That’s not right and I know better.

Several weeks ago I shared these thoughts with some girlfriends, who surprisingly did not throw rocks at me, but instead shared similar sentiments. All are my age {30′s} with similar demographics {married/children/home owners/college graduates} and each of us do not value our voting privileges – or so it would seem because very few had actually voted in any of the previous four elections.

Which got me thinking … how many of you are in the same boat?

How many women out there {smart, capable women} do not vote each election because we feel uninformed and therefore like our vote is useless?

I may be completely off-base, but I’m guessing quite a few. Our lives are full, our passions lie outside the political arena, we make choices to read Real Simple over The Economist and watch Dancing with the Stars over the Presidential Debate. It all sounds like chatter that our ears and minds can’t comprehend anyway, so we tune out. “Let the more informed make the decisions”, we say. And if not outright, we say it by our actions.

But we should not and we can not.

We have to vote.

Even though it’s over-our-heads.

Even though the candidates have flaws.

Even though our one vote may not make the difference in the outcome, collectively our votes do matter.

We really have to vote.

So here I am, confessing to you that I’ve taken this voting privilege for granted all my life. I am one of those {almost a quarter of the American population, by the way} who deliberately choose not to vote.

But this election is different. I’m growing up, being responsible, taking the freedom I have seriously and voting.

Won’t you join me?

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166 Responses to a confession I’d rather not confess – but I will anyway

  1. Devon October 31, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    As an older mom, I just want to say thank you for being bold enough to “confess” where you’re at. Too many young moms do what every other mom is doing or at least saying they are. You are inspiring…and real. Thanks!

    • Joann October 31, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

      I am also an older mom (60′s actually) and I say: Thank the Lord you are stepping up to the plate and voting. Edmund Burke said it very well, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”. It is never too late to start, as long as we have that freedom; so , Emily, Go and vote : ), our wonderful country depends on it.

  2. Katie@Paisley Print Shoes October 31, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    I’m so glad you are voting this year. And thanks for encouraging others to vote, too!!

  3. Anne @ anne b. good October 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    You were brave to share that. I appreciate it.

    I am cynical about politics and politicians. But I guess I am also convinced that as a citizen it’s my responsibility to vote, whether I’m cynical or not.

    My confession is that I don’t do enough homework before I vote. I mean, I have an opinion about the big races, but I don’t do the homework I should do regarding the smaller, local races. Or the judges (who have a whole lot of power). It can be overwhelming to think of all the homework that needs to be done. Still, it’s important.

    I haven’t read through all your comments, so I don’t know if anyone shared this with you, but I saw it just today before reading this, and thought it was appropriate for what you are speaking about, the consequences of doing nothing:
    http://youtu.be/EH_Izul6J5M

    • Nan October 31, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

      Thank you for sharing that video. I just watched it and sent it to my sons (19 and 25). Who, by the way, both voted by absentee ballots because one is away at college and the other away for work. Awesome video. As a side note: Sure wish I could draw like that!!

  4. Elizabeth October 31, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    I agree that it’s hard to vote when you feel like there’s no one to vote for. But, I’ve heard way too many uneducated people’s opinions that it makes me want to vote for the principals I believe in (even if the certain candidate doesn’t seem fit). I have heard so many negative things from people who only vote because of skin color, etc. Yikes! As a college graduate in my late 20′s, I’ve always voted because that’s what I’ve been taught to do. As I get older, I understand better what I believe in and why and that helps push my vote. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Jennine October 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    Regardless of missing the last four – CONGRATS ON GETTING IN THE GAME THIS TIME AROUND!
    May I recommend checking out minor party candidates as well? This will be my 5th presidential election vote and the major parties have never won my vote and I’ve never felt it thrown away.
    Also, moms out there – you don’t need a sitter to go and vote! Model your civic duty for your children by involving them!! Fellow constituents will not look down on squirmy squeaky squirts – better you bring them with than not come at all :)

    • shelley November 2, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

      I agree – I bring my young kids on purpose. It’s an important thing to see in action.

  6. Anna October 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    I’m so glad you’ve decided to take charge!
    The thing is… This election doesn’t just affect the U.S but the rest of the world too since the U.S is so influential. What ever U.S says goes so I’m hoping for 4 more years for a better world!!!

  7. Jennine October 31, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    I also recommend http://www.isidewith.com – a completely objective questionnaire that matches the candidates voting record/platform with your described values. For your 1st time don’t let anyone influence you ;)

  8. Sharon October 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    As an excited 18 year old, I hurried down to vote at the college campus in my first election. When I returned to the dorm, I found out my choice had pulled out as he was loosing. Bummer! From that excited person, I went through a time period when I would vote only for things I felt educated about or believed strongly about ….some years there were very few!!

    I used to think my vote wouldn’t count, but not too long ago (you may remember hearing about the election) voters in my state did not turn out to vote because EVERYONE was sure the respected, known candidate would be returned to the ballot and no one would vote for the unknown new comer. Wrong move!! Those miscalculations and laid-back attitudes led to one of the most famous write-in campaigns in recent years. Investigations into the unknown candidate showed he was an unsavory, dishonest person, but no one knew as he slid into the election. Yikes!!

    After the election, panic set in and the Alaska’s voters united to get a Write-in Campaign going. With everyone working together, Lisa Murkowski was re-elected. It taught us that every vote counts, and if we don’t get our vote in, we do not have the right to complain! I think Alaskan’s pay more attention now, and don’t take our voting ability for granted!

    I appreciate those who fought so that we have the right to voice with our vote, and i will be out next week to do my part. I am glad you will be too!!

  9. Brenda October 31, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    I am naturally a person who craves peace- I have had to learn to deal with conflict, and politics is rife with it. With two sons in the Navy- how could I stand by? The reality is that I hate…yes hate…the concept of the electoral college. This country now has the capacity to count each and every vote.My vote could make a difference!! Now, we see efforts to make voting easier. PEOPLE! My sons were shot at, watched as their comrades bled to death in the name of your freedom to choose one of 90 different types of toilet paper! and to be able to be safe as a woman to go buy it by yourselves! We can’t get off the couch to vote? I too am Alaskan- and feel that anyone of eligible voting age should not get our annual dividend unless you register and do the voting…FAITH WITHOUT ACTION ….James 2:17

  10. Bonnie k October 31, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    So glad you’re voting. Our grandmas and great grandmas paid a hefty price for this right. However skewed politics might seem, not voting is the same as saying we don’t value the price that was paid for this right that is really a privilege. Many places in the world don’t have it and would do about anything to get it.

  11. Shelley Heck October 31, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    All I can think of to say is Thank you for posting this. Thank you for your honesty and know how to put it in words to inspire so many of us who feel this way!

    Shelley
    VOTE 2012!!! =)

  12. judy h. October 31, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    Emily, I’m NOT going to throw rocks at you. I understand completely how you feel.. I have done what I call”cafeteria style voting”. Some years I do and others I don’t because I either don’t understand the propositions and amendments or I simply don’t have a feeling one way or the other how it turns out. I’m going to make a true effort to vote this year, mostly because my son has told me what amendments and props. to vote for or against. As far as the presidential election is concerned, I’ll probably vote third party since I don’t really feel like either candidate is a REAL choice. Shame on me? Maybe. But I have to feel honest when I vote.

  13. Mary October 31, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

    Get out and vote. It’s a lot of political rhetoric but exercise your right. And especially as a women—-read about what women before went through so we could vote today! when we become apathetic that’s how we gradually lose some of our rights. VOTE!

    • Courtney November 1, 2012 at 4:51 am #

      Voting isn’t a right! It’s important to stress that because our ability to vote could be stripped from us at anytime!

      And Emily, as a political consultant & aide in the Deep South, I’m so glad that you’re voting in a presidential election! It’s understandable that you don’t enjoy the game, but it’s SO important to be involved in the political process!

      • RoseMary King November 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

        Courtney,
        Have you read the 19th Amendment to the constitution? “Women’s RIGHT to Vote”. 1920. Voting is a RIGHT.

  14. Angel October 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    I have always felt the same way. Very similar demo. as you except without the college ed. I can’t stand politics and avoid them at all costs. However, I have always voted in the Nov. elections (I don’t always vote in all the smaller ones in our area). Luckily, I married someone who is very knowledgeable about what is happening and he can also help explain to me what all the different ballot measures really mean. I also trust him and we have almost the exact same views. So we often sit down together and he explains everything and we vote.

    I’m glad you’ve decided to vote. I completely understand your view point, but I feel it’s our privilege and duty to vote, whether we like it or not.

  15. Katie October 31, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    You sound exactly like so many of my friends. Like you, they don’t believe their votes count and think politics are “over their heads”. Its only over your head because you allow it to be!!! You know that you have opinions and beliefs and it is SO easy to figure out which politicians agree with you. I and 33 years old and have voted every time there has been an election. While I applaud your decision to vote this time around, it is so frustrating to me that so many choose not to vote because they don’t understand how the decisions of their elected officials directly affect their lives….until its too late.

  16. Chrissy October 31, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    you are so not alone! it’s so easy to make a lot of legit sounding excuses when you’re in the midst of mommy-hood. I didn’t vote last election, but I made it a priority this time around!

  17. Kimberly October 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

    Woohoo! Glad you saw the light and are voting and encouraging others to do the same. It’s not just our right, it’s a huge privilege to vote– one that women in our country didn’t have at one time. I hope others will do so because of your comments!

  18. Kim October 31, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    I’m so glad you’re voting this year! It is a huge privilege. I can’t help but wonder how we would feel about it if we were to lose it. As a lover of American History and all things patriotic I’m proud (but not in a boastful way) to say I have voted in every (major) election since 1980.

  19. Catherine October 31, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    Thank you for your honesty, and I’m so glad you voted this year! It’s a basic right in our country, and my grandmother was a baby when women won the right to vote. That wasn’t very long ago, and women in France didn’t get the vote until 1945. People across the world are still fighting for that right today. Women and minorities in our country suffered and even died fighting for this basic right, and that’s something I take to heart. All the technicalities aside, your vote is your voice, and as the mom of two young boys, I want to set a good example for them. I also want them to grow up in a better world, and so I’m trying to help change that, if only a little. “Iron Jawed Angels” is an excellent movie about the suffrage movement in the U.S. and it will really open your eyes to what they endured so we can vote today.

  20. Deb Bartlett October 31, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Thank you for voting. It makes this mother ( who’s son is deployed protecting your freedom to vote) happy. He has been deployed over half of his marriage and this year celebrated her birthday & his birthday and their anniversary from half a world away. Please don’t ever take our freedom for granted. It can be gone as quick as a blink. Bless!

  21. lindsay October 31, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    Emily,
    Thank you for you sincerity and willingness to share, I’m constantly amazed at your ability to spill your heart for all the world to read. As the elections draw near, while voting is important, I’m continuously reminded of our Father’s promise- that He will never leave us or forsake us. Christ knew the outcome of this election long ago, and it is all in His good will and perfect timing. No matter who wins, it’s part of our Creator’s plan, and whether or not we agree with the elected President, it is our job as Believers to pray for them wholeheartedly and know that our true Leader awaits us in heaven. Yes, voting is important, but the most important thing is trusting in the Lord and knowing that He is in control.
    Thanks again for sharing your story.

  22. Jane H October 31, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    My first instinct to your admission was anger, I must admit. Then, after a moments pause, I realized it took courage to admit your…how can I describe it…passing up of a great, hard-won right. I do not say this to be mean, or judgmental, but rather to express what I know, as a woman who grew up in the 70′s, and who struggled through being treated as a second class citizen while trying to forge a professional career, and earning less than 60% of every man with whom I worked. It can seen intimidating to trudge through all the hype, to get to the substance of a candidate’s position on things that matter. Keep in mind, it has not been all that long, historically, that women have had the right to vote. We must not squander what was so hard fought, and won.

  23. Sarah November 1, 2012 at 6:35 am #

    As a mother and a physician, I feel it is of utmost importance to vote, especially in this election. I practice in a free clinic and am very eager, for the sake of my patients and their need for personal care withOUT government interference, to vote AGAINST Obamacare. If allowed to contnue, it will inhibit the ability of physicians to care for their patients in the way they need. Freedom is threatened. So although Romney certainly isn’t perfect, he is miles better than the current president.

    I also take my kids with me to every election, and explain throughly what we are doing, as I want them to appreciate the priviledge we have.

  24. Kristen November 1, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    I totally hear you and can relate! No judgement here. Actually, it was so good to hear you honesty:)

  25. Laura November 1, 2012 at 7:16 am #

    I think it’s great that you are getting in and voting! My only problem with elections is that I feel that there are many who go on “feelings” and don’t do their part to look at the issues. People should attack ideas and issues, NOT the candidate.

    People should research voting records of the party they support because there, they will find the actions which speak louder than campaign promises. Until we have serious campaign finance reform we will never be able to have real elections where we feel our vote counts. Because really, the party lines are so blurred anymore that is does cause this feeling that it doesn’t matter what we do.

    Even for me, somewhat of a political junkie, who votes in every election and reads from all sources and not just the ones who support my ideas, I still feel very disheartened at the process but love that I have the right to vote. So I vote and hope that one day there will be another party that can make real changes to the process.

  26. Lori November 1, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    I wouldn’t vote in this election. I live in Canada, can’t vote in your election, BUT, have without even trying found out a lot of things I don’t like about both parties.

  27. AJ Grossman November 1, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Voting is more about the president, What about your local school board, or a local law. Voting is not just for President. You don’t have to vote for all the items on the ballot that is important to you or your family. too bad that you think voting is just about the president’s office.

  28. chrissi November 1, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    I grew up going to the polls with my parents and thinking of the day that I would be allowed to vote. Looking forward with great excitement. When I was old enough to grasp a bit more, my parents would sit with me and tell me what the ballots were for and why they were voting for each person or initiative.
    My husband and I do that today. We vote as a family. It doesn’t take long to discuss each choice and each member of our family feels like they mattered in the election.
    We explain the issues that our close to our hearts and faith, and why we are voting how we are.
    Vote with your heart and your head Emily. Embrace this gift you were given by those who came before you.

  29. Jessie McGregor November 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

    I work in politics and therefore consider myself very informed, yet even I understand where you are coming from! The issues can be very complicated and all the reports and facts can be skewed to look one way or another….it gets intense and sort of depressing with all the conflict. That is why I love design….it’s so pretty in contrast from what I see everyday :)

    Anyways, I just wanted to say that if you have a friend, neighbor, or family member who you know is informed and trust to be educational and not overly bias, ask them to explain a few things to you. Better yet, ask a few people to get diverse information and viewpoints. I have many friends who do not pay attention, and don’t understand the complex issues, but they come to me and I try my best to explain things in a simple way that they will understand without skewing their opinion.

  30. Harbormom November 1, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    I hate politics as we know it today. I am married to a man for 42 years (we will both be 70 very soon) and he has never registered to vote either. I registered as soon as I was of age and I have voted in each election. I confess that I have no grasp of all those issues that are bandied about by the respective party candidates (and at least there are choices now for party affiliations), but I watch and listen to the candidates at every opportunity and, ultimately, go with my gut. Which one responds most directly to questions? Which ‘humanizes’ the issues. Which to I want making decisions that will affect whatever future I might have left. I am so glad you are going to vote. I hope everyone will.

  31. Anna November 1, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Emily…

    A few thoughts. Thank you for the honesty. As the writer of a well read blog, I appreciate the transparency, which is not always easy. And thank you for feeling convicted to vote. I have a brother who fights for our freedoms, and when we don’t exercise them, it leaves people like me wondering why. So, thank you for changing your mind this year.

    A big thought…women will likely decide this presidential election. And as a mother of small children, of all people, you should absolutely care about who leads this great nation! It is the future of the next generation that we vote for, and believe me, we need a brighter future for our children. Your group of 30ish girlfriends/moms should have a powerful impact on what happens next week. Man, we really need them to be informed and vote!

    Though I am a pretty convicted person and feel well informed on the issues, one of the most rock solid videos/messages I have listened to is the following:

    http://vimeo.com/m/52163082

    I hope you find it worth your listen…truly fantastic!

    Thanks again for sharing…God bless America, our right to vote and the future of this great Land!

  32. Leslie November 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    Thank you, Emily, for sharing. I admit that I am frustrated to hear of voter apathy — but I appreciate, from the bottom of my heart, that you are honest and transparent in your blog. It’s easy to sit back and be proud of voting and taking part in our freedoms. It’s not so easy to honestly admit that something as important as this slipped through the cracks. Thank you for making a change. You are a beautiful mother of four, and your contribution to our country is already huge. Now you’ll contribute in one more way. Thank you for getting into the stream of citizens who try to make the best decisions about government and laws based on the little bit of information they have. And don’t forget to get the “I voted” sticker — the kids will like it.

  33. elz November 1, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    This post makes me so sad. To think that there are citizens who don’t choose to vote just because you (and your friend) don’t feel informed; it’s shocking. And depressing. I’m glad you are finally voting but incredibly sad that this is your first vote. So many have given so much so that we can vote freely. Please don’t let this be your last vote!

  34. ter November 1, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    thank you for being honest. and. thank you for changing your mind … and doing it differently this time around

  35. Jennifer H November 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    I cannot relate at all to your post Emily. My husband has verbalized the same things you write here and, despite hearing them for all our married life, I still don’t get it. leslie(2comments above mine) said it beautifully though–as a Christian, I feel strongly that I owe it to my kids and country to vote. Speaking of kids-take them with you. They will love it and it will impress upon them how important it is. brava Emily!

  36. jami nato November 1, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    you know, i sometimes think that people shouldn’t vote until informed. layne came home from school and he had a sticker on his shirt that said, i voted. i said, who for? he said, barak ohama. i was all, really? why? he said, because mitt ronney hates brown people. and he’s taking away PBS.

    LOL. completely misinformed. not to mention he couldn’t say their names. :)

    anyway, i have this discussion with people sometimes, like if you don’t agree with either candidate, should you really vote? lesser of 2 evils sort of a thing. i’m not saying that happens in every election but sometimes, i feel that way.

    so ya, i don’t judge you. it is a right to vote or to choose not to vote. that’s why it’s called a right.

    this comment is too long. anyway, i miss you!

  37. Jennifer November 2, 2012 at 6:10 am #

    I completely agree with you although I do vote and make my decisions by party line. I don’t feel like politics or politicians are very genuine and I certainly think their high level mumbo jumbo isn’t specific or detailed enough for my liking. Ask my 14 year old, I like specifics!

    If anyone can suggest a resource for details on the presidential candidates’ plans to decrease the jobless rate and increase the economy of our country, I am all ears!

  38. Sandy November 2, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    Hello Emily,

    Thank you so much for your sincere honesty…
    At first I got the chills and then decided to hear you out.

    As a new American citizen I now have (after 10 years) the freedom and right as all Americans to finally vote!
    I believe that if you are not an American you should not have that right… Hear me out… How and why should you be able to vote if you are not willing to convert or adapt to the country where you reside?
    My hubby is American and when we were living in Holland he was also not allowed to vote.

    Never ever did it “really” bother me that I could not vote here in America.
    I am not so I can not… was my motto and also… I was in way over my head and dazzled when I was trying to follow what all the government was talking about.

    I am happy to say that I can finally add myself to that list of voters.
    Now even more than ever… I do not want my vote to go lost!
    Also… my vote may not make the difference in the end… but if we all think that way ALL OUR VOTES WILL GO LOST ALL TOGETHER… AND WE COULD HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE.

    Sometimes it is hard to know who is good and who is not and what they are all up to in their own personal agenda.
    They all have their flaws no one is perfect.
    As KWave the radio station once mentioned… vote for the one that speaks to you the most.
    Is that loosing your freedom or keeping it.
    Abortion or no Abortion?
    Obama care or not?
    More taxes or not?
    thriving businesses and opportunities for entrepreneurs or not…
    More debt for our kids to pay off or trying to make this country shine again!

    No need to continue I guess…
    Do vote if you can! Our lives and freedom depends on it! I will As an American AND AS A WOMAN AND AS A MOTHER OF DAUGHTERS!

    THANK YOU EMILY FOR BEING SO HONEST – IT SPEAKS OF STRENGTH – and CHARACTER!

    Hugs and have a great weekend!
    Sandy

  39. jamie November 2, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    Emily, when I first read the title to your post I thought your confession would be, “Guys, I went through fast food today and ate 3 big macs.” Something of that nature. However, I wasn’t prepared for your true confession. I was really blown away!

    I’m further shocked to see how many others here who also don’t vote due to one reason or other. It seems lack of information or distrust of politicians is the common thread. Really? Lack of info in this day and age? Anyway, I’m not going to get all preachy, because I like you and love reading your blog, but I will say this, people who don’t vote have absolutely no right to complain about anything that happens involving US politics. I think you had a lot of courage saying what you did so publicly. -And I’m glad you’re voting!

    • Lisa November 2, 2012 at 11:46 am #

      I am continually perplexed by the statement – those who don’t vote have no right to complain. I vote btw, but am at a loss to make the connection between the cantidates I vote for and what actually goes on in Washington., and I would challenge anyone to make that pure connection.

  40. Jenica November 2, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    YEA! So glad you are encouraging people to vote- it is so important! I believe it really is our responsibility to make decisions now, which may be difficult, in order for our children to receive the same opportunities and freedoms we have been so blessed to have! Good work and Congrats- doesn’t it just feel good to mark that ballot? :)

  41. jamie November 2, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    Perplexed by what? My point is we have a right and a duty to vote. If you have an opinion ,even one, and are willing to voice it, then get to the polls. As far as loss of connection between a candidate and what happens is Washington, yes sometimes it can get fuzzy, but that’s not a good enough excuse to not vote. For starters, everyone here has an opinion about abortion, which is a hot button *every* election. All that “no right to complain” means is do your part, and be responsible. If your not sure about the issues become informed the best you can and vote.

  42. Rebecca November 3, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. — Edmund Burke