08 November 2006

repost from the livejournal last night

please go vote. please do it. you still have a couple hours.

reasons why your reason for not voting is not good enough:

1) you might think it's too hard or too complicated, but it's the state's responsibility to make it as simple as possible for you to vote. if you don't know where your polling place is, go to www.canivote.com. what do you need to bring with you? just something that says who you are and where you live: your license, your apartment lease, your school registration, a power bill, a sharper image catalog mailed in your name. my license had the wrong address on it, so i brought that plus the alumni newsletter from my high school, which had the right one. no problem at all.

2) you might think your vote "doesn't count", but it does, or at least it counts just as much as any other one person's. it makes me sad when lots of people stay home because they figure somebody else has somehow already taken control of the vote.

3) related to that is that maybe you think your vote "doesn't count" because the elections are probably rigged. i'm not going to dispute that because i believe it. but i think you should still vote. i did. say you want democrats to win but you figure the vote is probably going to be defrauded in favor of the republicans. (by the way, the republican party is currently issuing "talking points" to its supporters addressing exit polls, and why exit polls don't always match actual vote tallies. to me this sounds like preparation for explaining their "win" tomorrow morning when they ought to have lost, and i'm worried.) but listen: the fraud can't be TOO noticeable; if the discrepancy between exit polls and the republicans' preferred vote outcome is too large, they'll have to be much more cautious about tampering with the vote. that's important.

4) you might have a preferred candidate that you think will lose anyway. but i say, you still should go vote. i'd have gone to vote for a democrat even if polls showed a 70% majority for the republican opponent. i'm tired of the republican party being wildly successful at getting out the vote -- i swear to you, it's all the old people and CEOs and housebound southern-baptist wives who have tons of time to mosey on down to the polling station -- and democrats not making it to the polls and letting the winner get away with claiming a "mandate" because not enough people voted for the other guy and that makes the other half of the electorate look pretty easy to steamroller. i didn't vote for george w. bush, but i'm still one of his constituents. i want him to know that i did not want him to be president. i want democrat politicians to know that there's support to be found among liberals and progressives if politicians would only start acting like liberals and progressives. i want other liberal citizens to know that they're not alone. my vote is just one vote, but so is everyone else's. they add up. duh.

this also applies to you if you want to see a multi-party system. if that's what you want above all, then go vote for a third-party candidate right now. don't sit around and bitch about how the two big parties don't represent you. you have to do your part to send the message that third-party politics is what you want, and that you'll support a worthy third-party candidate. otherwise nobody tries, nothing changes.

this leads us right into...
5), which i've put off addressing because i hope to god that none of you really believe it this time around. please, for the love of little baby jesus, do not kid yourselves that "they're all the same". they are not "all the same." this is not the proverbial douchebag and turd sammich. and it wasn't last time, either. fuck south park, seriously, fuck them for giving apathetic people one more dumb, ill-informed quip to throw out to justify their laziness. i've posted about all this before. a lot of things have happened because of the current all-republican government that almost certainly would not have happened otherwise. the "war on terror" dragged us into iraq for NO reason, killed as many as six hundred thousand (that's a lot) iraqi civilians and three thousand americans, has made terrorists more numerous and more dedicated, and has made your life as a traveler hell (yay!) -- and remember afghanistan? we're still there, too; new orleans is still a wreck; abortion rights and even the right to contraception are at risk; the government is in unprecedented debt and has tried to cut social spending so they can spend more on war, all while the vast majority of citizens are already getting poorer; "no child left behind" has made schools even worse than they were before; abstinence-only sex ed has proved to cause a rise in teen pregnancy and std infection; racist, sexist, and homophobic bigotry and discrimination are coming back out into the open.

but hey, even if you like war, fema failures, forced birth, poverty, stds, and bigotry -- which i don't -- you still should know that your government is fundamentally failing you, in unconstitutional ways. unconstitutional! many of your elected officials are corrupt, secretive, and above the law, and they're not stopping one another from stealing your money, fucking over your district, or shredding your rights. we've had a rash of corruption scandals on K street, which i guess at least people are resigning, but cheney's still blocking investigations of the energy corporations, and the white house has outed a cia operative for revenge, and the president is surrounded by people who tell him they, and him, are above subpoenas (cheney) and the geneva conventions (gonzales); one and possibly two elections have been stolen, y'all, that doesn't sound too democratic; our government has eroded the separation of church and state, the separation of powers (that's checks and balances, remember?), and the right to habeas corpus, has bribed journalists and condemned newspapers for doing their job, and has retroactively legalized torture. in case you need a summary: not only is this government ineffective and dangerous; it is also undemocratic and un-American in the most positive, constitutional, admirable sense of the word american. to my mind, this isn't just about partisan politics but about the legitimacy of this republic; if there's one thing public education does really effectively, it's raising kids to love democracy, but democracy is being turned into a charade and we've been letting it happen. we need a fucking change, and when the greater of the two evils is THIS FUCKING EVIL, let's not kid ourselves that it "doesn't matter who wins," alright?

and i don't care if you're "protesting the system". now is a TERRIBLE time for "protest" (i.e. taking your ball and going home), and the vote is a terrible way to do it, and not voting to protest is totally indistinguishable from not voting out of that complacency you say you're not engaging in, and you'll only "protest" on election day if you actually prefer republicans in power. if you don't, you'll vote today, and you'll get out into the street tomorrow.

oh, and the possible
6) "but i don't know how i should vote". well. far be it from me to tell you what to think or believe, much less whom to vote for... but i would like it if you voted democratic in the close races. like i said above, we really need to get congress the fuck out of republican hands. right now congress is not doing its job, which is to check the power of the executive. if we had a democratic congress and a split government, at least that could slow down the pace at which the white house is steamrolling over civil liberties and grabbing for unwarranted power. if you're pissed about any of the stuff i described in #5, just please consider voting for a democrat. like i said, we can talk about third-party strategy til the cows come home but i am afraid that if republicans win this election, there is not going to BE another opportunity to make our vote actually count. if this one even exists. so let's just get them out of office, make the election process safer and more reliable, and THEN think about better constitutional setups.

but hey, you don't have to listen to me. i'll understand. if you want to educate yourself really quickly before heading out, go here: http://www.vote-smart.org/. facts about candidates' voting records, positions on issues, campaign finance, and how they rate with various interest groups. my endorsements are partisan, but the links i'm supplying are not, so don't worry about that.

i'm sorry for being such a blowhard. i hope i've covered everything. we still have a few hours. go to canivote, find out where to go, find your id and get your ass out there. please. if you see anything fishy going on -- flyers supporting one party or candidate, machines that aren't working, poll workers asking for more documentation than i mentioned above -- call 1-866-OUR-VOTE, a nonpartisan oversight group that will try to straighten out problems and document irregularities.

Say, Roula - do you mind if I link you?

I have my own painfully dorky blogspace - ghostmap.blogspot.com

By our nerd powers combined.
hey hi. a link would be fine. we could swap, if you want, though i'm painfully slow at editing my template html. i am reading a little of your blog now./ disjointed but interesting. those photos are fucking weird.
I thought to myself earlier while I was packing -- Oh, that angry response I wrote on your other article must have seemed extremely rude. (Profanity, etc.) I know you didn't ask to have a madman writing on your website. And thanks again to you both for helping me through with my drama these past few days. I know I rant a lot. Sorry.
hah, it's ok

you should see what went on for a while at my old blog (really a livejournal, but whatever). hah.

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