Monday, November 3, 2008

On the Stump

I voted. Actually I voted by mail a couple weeks ago. Here in the Evergreen State almost all voting is by mail. There was a little confusion recently when voters up in Whatcom County were advised that they could either mail their ballots in, or go to their polling place to vote. There are no polling places. There are only two counties that allow voting at a polling place. If you don’t have a stamp you don’t get to vote. Actually, you could get in your car and drive your ballot to an approved drop off location. Ummm, city hall or the county admin building, I can’t wait.

It wasn’t a pain. Sure we got a few robo calls, a lot of mailers and the airways are dominated with political misinformation about how bad, how screwed up, and how downright evil the OTHER candidate is. We even got a candidate to knock on the door, which was interesting. But really, if you are into cycling, or yard work, reading, or any of a number of other “leisure activities” that do not involve a radio, television, or telephone, you can avoid this irritation without much sweat. I got a funny email from a friend that was produced by MoveOn dot org, It was a video clip of a (fake) national news broadcast reporting that Mr. Obama had lost the election by just one vote. It went on to note that the name of the one person who did not vote was ME (insert my name here). Great to see technological innovation trickling all he way down to the level of politics.

Here is a little trend that I find most disturbing: I associate with a broad spectrum of people, professors of philosophy to construction laborers. I’ve noticed a slight trend among my more educated, affluent, and urban friends; people who might resist the liberal label but who might find it fits a little better than that conservative straight jacket.

These folks say they DON’T VOTE! (some of them anyway) That’s right, they don’t say they forgot, or don’t know how, or never have, they say they have consciously decided not to vote. In every instance, when asked the inevitable question they say they just don’t think their one, single vote matters. This breaks two ways: On one level they are saying that being just one little ant on the hill, they can’t see how their one measly vote can matter. In a more sinister spin, they say that the race is between the two major parties and thus it won’t make much difference which of the two “gets in”.

It disturbs me. I’m not going to wrap myself in the flag and go on about how millions of brave Americans have died to preserve this privilege. I won’t say it is a responsibility. I think it is a privilege. So admonishing, coaxing, threatening, or otherwise attempting to make people exercise a privilege just isn’t going to work. It is a disturbing trend and I believe the only time your vote doesn’t count is when you don’t cast it. The other thing I would say about the vote not counting: I agree that the two major parties have a lot in common, but I think the difference is a little greater this go round. This vote business is not like getting on your bike on a Saturday morning and riding for 400 miles, it’s not like turning a jet fighter around. It’s more like turning a tanker, or building a pyramid the old fashioned way. Do your little part to help us get this thing headed in the right direction and moving along.

My Name is Dr Codfish and I approved this message

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