For the Love of God, Vote!

Current Listening: The Mr. T Experience – “Even Hitler Had a Girlfriend” (Our Bodies, Our Selves)

Life is full of contraditions, hard to understand / and for every happy woman there’s a lonely man / Nixon had his puppy, Charles Manson had his clan / But God forbid that I get a girlfriend

( This is some vintage Dave, from the election two years ago. I’ve changed a bit (ie, become more vocal about my political views) but the piece is still relevent. People who say that some people shouldn’t vote make me sick.)

You know, I really try to avoid politics because, more often than not, politics turn people into jerks. You know? Some people won’t even speak to others who happen to have different views. I’m politically motivated, but I typically choose to remain silent about my views. It would be a different if people could have intelligent political discussions, but more often than not a civil political debate will degenerate into name-calling and ad hominem arguments. I think the race for the U.S. Senate here in Montana is a great example of that. Despite what Baucus’s PR people say, there was definately an attempt in the ‘hairdresser’ spot to cheapen Mike Taylor’s image, even if it was only to make him look silly and not, as Taylor claims, homosexual. But Taylor is no better than Baucus, because he’s playing the hypocrite game. He says that the Montana political sandbox is too filled with kitty poop to play in, so he parades around the state, ostensibly trying to clean up politics, but really just trying to cheapen Baucus’ image. ‘Shame on Max’ advertisements, anyone? To Taylor’s credit, he is not directly responsible for the ads, but if he were really trying to scoop the poop from Montana politics wouldn’t he speak out against his party’s ads from his ‘Countdown to Decency’ (ha, ha, ha, Mike) bus?

But I said I’m not gonna shove my personal politics in anybody’s face, and I’ll hold fast to that statement. There is only one thing about politics that I’m downright vocal about (not counting my outright loathing for political partics, which are singlehandedly sending this country, in the words of Ben Weasel, “Down the fuckin’ toilet”), and that’s the actual process. Specifically, the voting. I’m gonna tell you to vote, but not how. That’s your decision.

I picked up The Missoula Independent today and was shocked by that issue’s installment of its weekly ‘Numbers’ section. 12.1% of eligible voters, age 18 to 24, voted in the last mid-term election in 1998. 12.1%. That’s less than an eighth of the eligible voters. That number sickened me. Why don’t people care? Why, specifically, don’t kids care?

What’s the big deal, you might ask? My big problem with this absolutely pathetic figure is that it could easily have been much higher. It doesn’t take too much effort to vote. I think employers are required to let you take time to vote. All kids at the University should vote (we have the whole day off, for God’s sake!), especially when there are issues and candidates concerning our education. Kids today are damn lazy, and that pisses me off. There may be a lot of slime covering our political system, but we can change that.

A lot of people also think that their vote ‘doesn’t matter.’ What a stupid argument! When you go out and vote, for example, for Ross Perot, you’re not only casting your vote for that third candidate, you’re making a statement. “Screw you Democrats and screw you Republicans!” I’m sure that if everybody who leaned toward an Independent party actually did vote, somebody who wasn’t a donkey or an elephant could get into office. When you vote for the person who loses you aren’t throwing your vote away, you’re telling the other candidates off. Isn’t it worse to vote for ‘the lesser evil?’ You’re still voting for evil, sonny (to use an old phrase). You may be voting for a ‘loser’, but you’re still not voting for somebody you dislike. And usually voting for a third party throws off one of the other parties, enough to the point to affect the election (Al Gore probably would have won the presidential race had there only been he and Prince George running. If the situation had been handled more gracefully, we might not have our oil baron for a commander-in-chief).

There are less people voting in mid-term elections than during elections on the ‘big four’ years. This is also pretty stupid, if you ask me. The president has the power to suggest legislation and veto it, but Congressmen are the bread and butter of the nation. They approve all his decisions and they can kick him out. They represent your state in that big mish-mash in Washington. Local politicians are even more important, because usually they make decisions that directly affect you. If people are skipping elections (which they shouldn’t be), they should skip the presidential ones.

In short, get out there and vote. I should expect a sympathetic ear, aren’t punks supposed to be politically motivated? There ain’t nothing that will bring about change quicker than voting, o mohawk-bearers. I’m going back home on Tuesday (granted, I only live an hour from home, but it’s still a lot more effort than most people need to expend to cast their ballot) so I can vote, and everybody out there should, too. In the words of George Jean Nathan, “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.” Exactly.


Leave a Reply