OK, this is going to be my last political post before the election. And in it, I want to talk about voting.
On Tuesday, 2 November 2004, if you’re an eligible American, please vote.
I don’t care so much how you vote. Even those of you who will vote for Bush — and I assume in any sufficiently large quasi-random collection of people such as my friends list there are some — I would say that we’re Americans first, and supporters of a particular candidate second.
Mind you… Senior members of the Republican Party hierarchy might not agree.
Some of the best reporting I’ve heard on this was done by the radio show This American Life. Last week, they even had a special segment on vote fraud, and they’ve posted it as its own Real Audio file. (if you need RealPlayer to hear that, start at http://www.real.com/ ) And, as they point out, while it’s true “both sides do it”, the scale is massively disproportional — hundeds of votes in the case of Democrats, tens of thousands of votes in the case of Republicans.
More than anything else, the big approach taken by the two parties has been this:
* Republicans want as few people as possible to vote, participate, talk, go to rallies, etc.
* Democrats want as many people as possible to vote, participate, talk, go to rallies, etc.
I’m enough of a small-d democrat to know which approach I vastly prefer, which approach seems vastly more honest, which approach seems to stem from confidence, and not fear. Fear of our fellow citizens, no less.
So there is no small irony that while the Bush view has no place for me, I make way to co-exist with those who support Bush.
But that’s America for you.
Now, some of you may live in what you’ve been told are “safe” states. Some of you may think your vote doesn’t matter.
I think the people who sell that point-of-view are, indeed, selling something. That they are trying to persuade you of something other than the truth.
I don’t think any state is “safe”. I think every vote matters.
I think the common, average, everyday American voter is the most potent political force in the world. And I think hundreds of millions of dollars are spent to discourage us poor sods who fit that description because the political professionals are so damned afraid of us.
Political spending keeps going up and up, yes? Yet participation keeps going down and down, yes?
That means one of two things. Either political professionals have no idea for the value of a dollar, and are throwing their money away — tempting, I’ll grant — or…
Or what they’re buying is your silence.
If you want to be a rebel, if you want to be heard, if you want either change or more of the same, if you want The Few to take notice of The Many, if you want to honor our soldiers, both alive and dead…
I’ve never seen a dollar bill punch a ballot.
Put it to you this way: If voting was so goddamned ineffective, why are so many people spending so much money to convince you NOT to do it? What do you think they’re afraid of?
YOU, big boys, and big girls.
But, Hal, I hear you say, what’s in it for me? Not some high-falutin’ abstract greater good thing, I mean cash on the barrelhead?
Fine. Have you ever heard of http://www.HOTorNOT.org/ ? It’s a kinda-sorta dating site, which has a certain (young) fan base.
The guys who own HOT or NOT have started a new project — VOTE or NOT.
Basically, if you click on this link, and vote (and didn’t sign up when akirlu ran this, because you can only sign up once), you become eligible for a chance at $100,000. If someone signs up citing you as a referral, that’s a second chance for you to win $100,000.
Yes, many people have been signing up. But nowhere near as many as buy lottery tickets every day, and hey, it doesn’t cost you anything.
All you have to do is sign up, and vote.
But, even if you don’t sign up at VOTE or NOT…