my vote waiting to be collected

I FINALLY made a decision on a presidential candidate, and marked that damn oval. Shit.

I moved on to fill in some other ovals, and aaalllllmmoossstttt went back and erased it. That’s why I did it in pencil: just in case. But this morning I ceased further agonizing and sealed the envelope and stuck it outside for the mail lady to pick it up and take it away.

I’ve been working on my ballot for a week; studying, considering, watching ads, reading ads, perusing the countless endorsement that show up in the mail. You don’t know HOW close I came to writing in Hillary Clinton. Or HOW close I came to writing in Mickey Mouse. Or HOW close I came to making the realistic, reasonable, sane decision of blowing off that section entirely. How can a person choose between a series of bad choices?

Halloween porch, with the ballot signed, sealed, and at the mailbox, ready to go

I’ve always said the person that I would want as my President would never stoop so low as to enter the contest.

Funny, at work, where we get the stupid Hatch Act pop-up every morning when we boot up, we’ve been talking a lot of politics. A couple of my friends at work have proudly impressed how vital it is to vote; how we must take action to get the right person elected. I was reminded by one co-worker how in a recent election there were only 700 votes between the person who was elected and the person who came up second place. “Your vote makes a difference!” she said.

No it doesn’t! Grrrrr!!

If we’re talking Presidents, you understand, if we’re talking the Big One, our votes really and truly do mean diddly squat. Nothing. Na da. Come on, people. Don’t lecture me about how important my support for one presidential candidate or another is, because my vote means nothing. And, I’m sorry to say it, but your vote means nothing too. Not unless you’re a member of the Electoral College.

In the year 2008 with technology so astonishing, unstable, convention-shattering… we are reduced to having others vote for us. And, as we saw in 2000, reduced to watching helplessly as they failed to vote along with the popular vote as we were assured they would do because they said they would. Oh, didn’t you know? Unlike every other country in the world throughout history, today in America, people in government keep their word.

But even if popular vote did elect a President, my vote would still not matter. Yours wouldn’t either. Not unless you’re a lobbyist with some exceptional skills. Not unless you’re filthy rich and powerful, or have the last name of Kennedy. Not unless you head some ragtag little committee like AFL-CIO, or CBS, or FOX, ExxonMobil, or Shell, or NEA.

As my brother commented in an email, elections today are all about winning. The question is no longer what can we do to fulfill this office, but How Can I Win Today? That’s what every major campaign is about. He’s right. And that’s sad. It explains why heads of gigantic corporations do have a say, because those are the people who have the money to back a relentless campaign, and they have the power to “encourage” others to cast their votes in a particular direction.

My buddy Earnest knows how I feel, but he tries to talk me out of my negativity. I showed him my workbooks and flyers and my ballot on Monday. They rested on my desk, waiting patiently for more attention. Oregon’s got all these measures that really require some studying up on (hint: you’re better off to ignore the flyers). Earnest realized that despite my consistent bashing of the system, I’m putting my full effort into a conscientious vote. He took a step backward and rearranged his Yankees cap over his dreads.

“So why do you vote?” he asked.

“I vote because I can,” I answered with no hesitation. “I am so grateful that I live where I have the opportunity to vote. A lot of people went to a lot of effort to make it so that I have the freedom to vote, and I respect that and I don’t want to waste it or disrespect the honor. So I vote.”

And, like I’ve said before, I’m an incorrigible optimist. Maybe, maybe, there’s something to it all. I know I can make a difference on measures at a state level, I believe my vote can influence the outcome of the Sheriff elections, and that possibly even an Oregon state senator will have help or hindrance from my tiny voice. So … perhaps my effort will make a difference in the outcome of President as well.

Sadly, I can’t affect the quality of the contenders though. Not this year. But with hope, perseverance, and the drive to share my thoughts with others, I’d like to believe that some day my voice will join those of others. I’d like to believe that with enough of us, we’ll change the climate of our world, and maybe we’ll stop responding like mechanical puppet consumers and send the message that we are the rightful leaders of the country and those we elect are our servants. Maybe then we can bring people of quality into that office again.

Comments from the old blog:

ladybug

wow i completely follow here. and i too am torn, knowing full well that my vote is nothing compared to the power of dollar bills and corporate backings i still vote because it’s my right and even more because if i believe it makes the difference then others will believe too and one day as a collective we will reach the same goal of actually making the difference we want to see. politics is exhausting. all it is, is using language in war instead of bombs. (you should read my blog “more fuel for your fire?”) i totally agree with your idea that my ideal president would not enter into such a conflict. with all it’s corruption, my ideal president wouldn’t have a chance.  thank you for sharing. and i’m glad you cast your vote.

crystal

Thanks for your thoughts Ladybug. Thanks for your blog too. Ha ha, I like your comment that politics is exhausting. Yes! I think that means you’re doing it right. Love to you…

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