Lessor of two?
Voting today was a drag. Really, a low-down-dirty-drag......NOT because I had to wait in a long line, NOT because the poll workers didn't know what they were doing, NOT because the e-voting machines didn't work. It was a drag because I've become politically jaded....worse than ever before.
I've been following the news lately and watching as the pundits in the media have been predicting that the Democrats will take over the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate. Republicans, wracked by scandals named Abramoff, Bush, Ney, Delay, Cunningham, Rove, Foley, and Iraq have been sweating bullets for weeks thinking that their collective asses are on the line and the precious power they've held since '94 is slipping from their grasps. Independants? Well, they're non-existent. Recent polls have even shown that Americans are wanting change and this election is supposed to be a showcase of our discontent.
'Scuse me a sec while I get sick....
because I'm starting to feel that it's all, well, as Nick the Greek would say- shite (pronounced: sh/eye/t). As much as I believe in the electoral process, the right to vote and change via elections, it seems to me that it's all a six-ton-truck-load of shit. We've all been reared believing that elections are the way the average American gets their voices heard, maybe even ascend to elected office one day. THAT though is a fantasy and it has caused me to become the apathetic voter I am as I've stopped caring about who's running for the most part. Anyone on ANY ballot in ANY city is RICH, has rich friends, and you'd be hard pressed to find a real "average Joe" running for public office. According to CNN, this year's election cost 1.2 BBBBillion dollars, more than any midterm election in history. Here's the rub though, most of that money is coming from corporate donors, not private citizens (i.e. most of these candidates are actually economic investments- and these companies will be looking to see a return...soon). So who's looking out for whom?
To find out, I decided to do what I've never done before and actually look up many of the candidates and read up on their qualifications and stances. I'm almost mad at myself for doing so, mainly because everyone seems to say the same redundant shit, no one stands for what I believe in and a lot of these folks aren't qualified to do their potential jobs (a la horse trainer and ex-FEMA director Michael Brown). In Georgia we got to choose between electing the corrupt-ass current governor and a corrupt-ass ex-Lt. Governor. For State School Superintendent, we got to choose between the incumbent who I don't like, and two people who aren't nearly qualified enough to do a better job (one a lawyer, the other a businessman- NOT EDUCATORS!!!). The Congressman running in my district ran UNOPPOSED and as I voted, I began counting the number of offices up for grabs- 35. Then I began counting the number of offices with only one person on the ballot, 22?!?!? So in other words, we had a "choice" in only 13 races and mathematically that means almost twice as many seats went unopposed as there were competitve races. I thought about putting Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck as write-in candidates, but I resisted the urge to make a mockery of the day- at least moreso than it was already. Next time around though, Huey, Riley and Granddad from the "Boondocks" are ALL getting votes. At least the comics are reliable. Fuckit.
Seriously though, I vote for only one reason: Historical Obligation. I am obliged to the hundreds of people who have died in this country fighting for equality for African Americans and other minorities over the years. Great human beings who were lynched, shot and firebombed in cold blood for preserving my right to simply cast a vote on election day. My grandparents- people who lived through The Depression, WWII, Jim Crow segregation, and the great Civil Rights Movement instilled in me from a young age that the right to vote is important and that I NEED to register to vote as soon as I turned 18 (which I did) and I've voted in every major election since. For a lot of people, elections are optional and some have even expressed that they were staying home. Sorry man, NOT voting- regardless of how jaded I am, is NOT an option and I cringe every time I hear a someone say that they didn't vote.
So here I am tonight, one eye on the computer and the other eye on CNN(D)/Fox"news"(R) and hearing these same pundits celebrating/mourning the incoming news from each state's precinct. The funny thing is that in this day of heavy competition on the national scale, the vote I cast, yeah, it didn't matter in the great scheme of things. The congressman- you know, the one running unopposed in my district....
LUCKILY though, he's Representative John Lewis.
His sacrifical efforts during the troubled days of the 50's and 60's helped give me the right to vote today- especially in the South. He survived those turbulent times while fighting on the front lines, taking the hits with the greatest civil leaders of the time. I like him and I support him completely. Unfortunately, he's one of the few in positions of power who seems to have the people's interests at heart, and always has. Maybe each one of these newly elected jokers should get a mandatory knock or two on the head to make them understand what it truly means to represent the people....Can I put THAT on the next ballot?