Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Last Wednesday in October

If you haven't registered to vote, then the good news is that you can skip this space today and move on to the yard sales advertisements or the legal notices because I have no words for you.

Democracy is complicated and often messy and this year is no exception. Maybe the most sobering aspect for those who've chosen to absent themselves from the process is the belief  that voting doesn't immediately make our lives better.

That said, I'm not sure why you're content to live with the consequences of other people's choices, but if you're not troubled by your own lack of engagement and an absence of involvement in your own life and that of your community far be it from me to pass judgement on you, unless I just did.

For the rest of us, by this time next Wednesday, Election 2014 will be all over except for the lawn sign pulling up and collecting part of The Day After the End of the World because Our Candidate Didn't Win.

Except as we both know the world will not have ended (I admit to having no inside information confirming this but a conclusion based on statistical analysis of voter outcomes since the Founding of the Republic (and a wild guess)).

I'll admit our lawns probably needed the aeration the metal stakes on those campaign signs provided and they gave the wind this past weekend something else to blow around aside from all those fallen leaves.

If I could just as easily rationalize the sticky residue left behind on our cars and trucks from where we're removing those bumper stickers (unless we're poor sports), my life would be a little smoother.

Come to think of it, why the heck do we call them "bumper stickers" in the first place since most of us don't actually have chrome bumpers to stick anything on and so we end up attaching them to our back window or to the trunk or cargo hatch of whatever we are driving, somehow forgetting that what we are driving serves as a signal flare of our politics.  

I've read where political scientists (I have a sci-fi movie in my head whenever I think of a political scientist as someone in a lab coat mixing beakers containing the essences of an elephant with those of a donkey) are fearing for the future of our democracy because we the people seem to have lost both interest and faith in it, in nearly equal parts.

I don't pretend it's empirical data but I attended a number of forums, debates and conversations sponsored by all manner of civic organizations this election cycle and was never favorably impressed with the attendance.

Maybe there was a contest to see how many other things we could to do rather than attend, in which case it seems to me some of us won but ultimately all of us lost. Our elections may be free but we all pay for the results.

Don't be that person next Tuesday when the polls are closing who meant to vote but didn't find the ten minutes it takes to actually cast your ballot. Elections are about the future so make sure you have your say next Tuesday.

Too many people around the world would give their lives for what we have-far too many in this country have already sacrificed their lives so we can sit out election day because it doesn't make a difference. If you feel that way, you're right, it doesn't.
-bill kenny

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