Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A Quick Note on Election Day 2010

I must put on clothes and get moving.

There is a line of thought that says voting "only encourages them." Voting, it is held by some, legitimizes and empowers a sham of democracy, a process that is really bought and sold and does not represent the needs or interests of the people.

Even if that is 100% correct, the elections we do have still make a difference. Imagine what the world would likely resemble in 2010, as realistically as you can, under a reactionary right-wing presidency.

The answer is not to abdicate and leave the ground to those powers that rule, but to vote and fight for reform. Not even reform, but an overhaul.

No one is too holy to vote. Your life is touched by the lives of everyone around you. It is touched by money and goods. It is defined by your access to those goods and services. Even if you sit a Kyol Che every year, even if your head is shaved and you are more familiar with the Pali Canon than the Federalist papers, you are involved and you have a job.

I'm heading out the door in a moment to cast my vote. I hate my choices. There is work to be done opening this process up to more candidates and a broader range of ideas, and to fight back the dominance of corporations. For today, however, I have two jobs. The first is to vote.

Second, I head to Anthony, New Mexico to volunteer as a non-partisan election observer. I have taken a personal day from my job in order to do this. (I also did this in 2008.) I have been trained in the state's election law and the electoral process. Mostly, my job consists of answering questions and helping voters who are confused. Occasionally, poll workers make honest mistakes in applying our election laws (which are somewhat confusing). And, slightly more rarely, there is hanky-panky at a polling place that must be called in and written up. When necessary, a lawyer is dispatched to the scene. Mostly I simply am a presence, to observe, answer questions when asked, and report what I see.

That's my day. Please have a good one.

And please vote.

3 comments:

Kelly said...

I hope it's been a good day for you, Algernon.

I cast my ballot two weeks ago on the first day of early voting in my state. Now we just wait and see what happens.

Anonymous said...

you say "No one is too holy to vote. Your life is touched by the lives of everyone around you. It is touched by money and goods. It is defined by your access to those goods and services. Even if you sit a Kyol Che every year, even if your head is shaved and you are more familiar with the Pali Canon than the Federalist papers, you are involved and you have a job."

It is some peoples role to upturn the apple cart, if all the apples are rotten. If all the people would not vote, that would do it. Imagine a citizen run government, not professional politicians. Your vote insures that the professional, corrupted politician will continue to serve big money, on either side of the isle. Next time have the courage to "NOT VOTE" and spread the word that a real revolution is on the horizon, not just politics as usual.

Algernon said...

Citizen-run government is a beautiful idea, but what you are talking about is a different system of government entirely, one that does not exist. It does not magically appear simply by abstaining from the electoral process that is in place. There is some "magic" thinking going on here.

Participating rates in U.S. elections is generally pretty low, and what that achieves is victory for those who do use the process. Yes, I am blaming low turnout, in part, for the quality of our representatives. That isn't the whole of the problem, but it contributes.

Staying home doesn't upturn the apple cart, as you would like to imagine; it keeps the apple cart right where it is, rotten apples and all. If you want to be a revolutionary, you need to get out and do something.

Let's hear your plan.