Monday, May 5, 2008

Voter Apathy

"Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil."
- Jerry Garcia.  Yes, Jerry Garcia.

I have no idea who I am going to vote for in November.  There.  I said it.  No idea.
In the ninth grade, I had to take a course called "American Government." In this class, I only learned two lessons, both of which are summarized here:

#1: It should be illegal to leave a senile old teacher who should have retired ten years ago alone in a room with twenty adolescents who have as a group ingested twenty Snickers bars, forty packs of M&Ms, and twenty five Coca Cola's within the fifteen minute morning break that was allotted to them just prior to their American government class. 

#2: Low voter turnout in the United States can, for the most part, be attributed to a phenomenon called "voter apathy."

Lesson number one was imprinted in my mind the day that I talked this kid Sean into putting an entire packet of ABC gum (that means "Already Been Chewed" for those of you who are no longer in touch with your inner junior high school student) on the seat of my hapless teacher's chair, and lesson number two stuck with me because it outraged my inner geek to no end that people who could vote just chose not to because they thought it didn't matter.

In many ways, it was my first glimpse into human suffering.  Think about it, what is more tragic than someone thinking that they don't count?

Almost two decades later, I have found that far more tragic things take place than voting populations that don't think their votes count, here are a few:

* Stolen elections
* unjustified wars and the subsequent alienation of almost the entire international community
* a foreign policy that consists of quips such as, but sadly not limited to, "Bring it on" and "Wanted dead or alive."
* constitutionally questionable wiretaps, e-mail taps and "what are you reading" taps
* illegal torture of prisoners of war
* the kind of, sort of, suspension of habeus corpus
* ill thought out environmental policies that have led to an impending food shortage
* ill thought out economic policies which some doomsayers are saying will lead to a "depression" (I don't know about you, but I'm already feeling a little depressed)
* and, my favorite, last but most certainly not least, an impotent opposition party that doesn't have the gahones to impeach this guy

Speaking as an individual who has become politically mature in what some astute American historians are calling the "worst presidency in American history," I am not apathetic, I'm...well, generally pissed off and a little angry.  And not just at Dubya, but at everyone charged with the responsibility of running this nation.  Yes, Democrats in Congress, I am talking to you, too.

Voter apathy?  Hardly.  American votes counts, I know they do.  They count the way the principle of "buy low, sell high" counts in the stock market.  You're supposed to buy a stock at a low price and sell at higher one, right?  American votes are bought with cheap currency like fear, xenophobia, and ethnic and religious alliances.  Sadly, the currency that these votes generate for politicians does not translate into health care, better schools or a safer world for Americans.  The currency these votes generate translate simply into the ability to win another election.  The point is that I'm apprehensive about casting my vote not because I don't think it will count.  I'm apprehensive regarding voting because I am not sure exactly what my vote will count for

Because I'm an Independent, Florida's closed primary let me off the hook in terms of making that decision in January.  But, November is approaching faster than I care to admit.  I have thoughts on the candidates which I am going to present in freestyle...

John McCain
That beach boys song, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Bomb Iran ... I still can't believe he said that, what a jerk ...a hundred years, he's joking, right ... talk about a flip flopper, wasn't he against the war a few years ago ... a summer gas tax break, whoop-dee freakin' doo, now i can buy a Snickers bar (in honor of my 9th grade American government teacher) with all the savings ...  he's not looking too healthy, he should really work out a health care plan soon because I think he's going to need it in order to get to the end of his term if he gets elected...

Hillary Clinton
A total and utter disappointment thus far... she's such a credible and intelligent politician, why is she being so mean to Barack Obama ... red phones, mailers, why not just run on your own merits instead of trying to tear other down ... obliterate Iran, obliterate, that's harsh ... reading letters from a "fan" at some Midwest primary where the writer is thanking her for running because it shows her daughter what is possible for women in the U.S, that makes me uneasy, doesn't that kind of sound like, "vote for me because I'm a girl"... I'd always admired her, but something doesn't feel right about her...

Barack Obama
He's not Muslim, but even if he were, does that make him less American, that issue makes me feel sad ... proud of him, he represents what any American can become ... not very experienced, though... a few Pakistani friends told me he said he was willing to bomb Pakistan, so I looked up the speech... turns out he said he would bomb the Northern frontier if  General M. wouldn't contain the terrorist cells there ... still bad news, but, let's be real, they're all willing to bomb Pakistan, at least he made himself accountable to some set of parameters ... at least, he didn't sing a tune set to a Beach Boys song, or use the word "obliterate"... are people really going to vote for someone whose middle name is Hussein, it shouldn't matter, but it does... idealistic, too idealistic, I don't know, I kind of need a little idealism in my life... people don't think he's going to win if he does end up running as the Democratic candidate, but that doesn't bother me, I am a Red Sox fan, after all.

That's it.  Looks like Obama is in the lead.  I'll keep you posted.



Anonymous Romeen said...

I love it!! Thats not new though, I love everything you write.

Thursday, 08 May, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well the first thing I learned in political science class is that government is run by whoever shows up and can get enough of those who show up on their side. so if 10% show up and I get 5 or more of them I WIN HAHA.
Plus as long as the peasant are playing with their Nintendo DS and watching American Idol and spending endless hours on the internet the better for the ruling class. OH YEAH That is the reality people.
This country is run by the lobbyists whose firms are owned by Senators and former Senators and their friends. Do i think it is wrong...well yes when used for an evil purpose but there are also some Benefits if you are lobbying for a good cause. It should be limited....


Thursday, 22 May, 2008  
Blogger Chista1749 said...

You're right on, Mr KITAW... it's not pretty, it just *is*.

Wednesday, 28 May, 2008  
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Monday, 30 March, 2009  

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