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Vote, Dammit!

The other day, Anne asked me what it was like to vote in America. I thought it was an interesting question, and since Anne had just said that she found Americans to be incredibly polite, I felt somewhat obligated to come up with an answer. Also, how can I refuse a woman who has taught her two year old to swear in two languages?

Voting in America is much like what I imagine voting is like in any number of places. You register, stand in line, vote for your preferred candidate for several different offices, vote yes or not for various proposed laws or bond issues, and then collect your I Voted sticker and go on with your life.

Voting in America is also very different that what I imagine voting is like in any number of places. You are very unlikely to be shot for voting, which is a bit odd considering how much we Americans like to shoot each other. The polling place is very unlikely to be attacked or blown up. You may vote however you like without fear that you will be jailed or beaten. Any citizen, native or naturalized, who is over 18 and has not been convicted of a felony can register and vote. There are no requirements for education, prosperity, political affiliation. You are not even required to be of sound mind.

The strangest thing, to me, is the Electoral College. This was put into place by our much-admired Founding Fathers to prevent political parties from dominating national elections. Clearly, it has not proven to be as successful as they hoped. The result is that rather than a one man one vote system, we vote by state. Whichever candidate receives the majority of the votes in each state receives all the votes controlled by that state in the Electoral College.

I am a blue girl in a red state. There is no doubt that the majority of the people in my state will vote Republican on Tuesday and therefore my state will vote to re-elect the President. My vote will not count. I have real problems with this, as I firmly believe that the current President needs to be fired. He is a liar and a zealot. He has spent four years working his own agenda with no concern for the future well-being of the American people or the reputation of America around the world. He is an embarrassment. I am embarrassed that we put him into office and mortified that by living in the state where I live I helped to put him into power. It is my fervent hope that we send him home on Tuesday. However, I will in effect be voting to keep him in office.

I will vote anyway, and I will wear my sticker and I will be proud. Voting is a moral imperative. Less than half of us do it, which is the real embarrassment. When I vote on Tuesday, I will think of the people who have fought and died over the centuries to give me the right to do it, and I will think of the people who are still fighting for the privilege to stand in a voting booth and cast a single ballot for the things in which they believe. I will be angry when my vote is thrown out and my state votes against my values and opinions, but I will be angrier still at all of my fellow countrymen who stay home.

I encourage all of you to vote on Tuesday and to vote your conscience, and I encourage you to encourage your family and friends to do the same. It is quite literally the least that we can do.

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Vote, Dammit!:

» Swingers from WaterLanding
"Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, with Alabama in between." - James Carville, on Pennsylvania. Others have differed, but, for me, one bright spot of living in the Commonwealth has been this year's election; an insane amount of attention has been foisted up... [Read More]

Comments (24)

Im voting but hell if I know who for still. The older I get the more I feel I have to pay attention for my benefit and this is sooo hard. :(

I think this election on Tuesday is the most important ever. We have to stand up as a country and say no to Bush. Let's just hope that, at the least, the votes are counted fairly this time around.

BTW, I'm in KY., so my vote won't count either.

I'm in a similar State. *kicks Electoral College*

I'll be voting, too - and I live in a BLUE state -- not bad... so I feel a bit better than you do... I just hope we all get this right -- I'm actually very uncomfortable with BOTH candidates -- but know that Bush hasn't a clue -- and will make matter worse for us in the long run...

You need to hope Kerry wins electoral college (and therefore is president) and Bush wins popular vote.. if this happens the electoral college is kaput-the Republicans will see to it.

Hey according to the Red Skins losing this game today, Kerry will win. Please please please.

Sing it, sweetie! While my vote won't count either, since like all good couples we live in the same state, I'll just take pride in the fact that someone wanted to shake my hand for wearing my John Kerry hat this morning. The bigger issue is this - how will you handle a nervous, pacing husband obsessively watching the election returns on Tuesday night?

I find it interesting that it's not compulsory to vote in the US. We're forced to line up in local primary schools around the nation and cast our vote for love of country. We can be violated, beaten, fined or imprisoned at her majesty's discretion for failing to vote.

this is the first presidential election where i'm of legal age to vote, so i'm very excited! i will be there at the polls tuesday evening after work :)

Time 3am

Date October 31, 2004

Place: Nick's apt. post Halloween party

Who: four friends dressed as Wonder Woman, Evel Knievel, Alex from A Clockwork Orange and a female swashbuckling sexy Musketeer

What: We engage in a TOUGH CROWD like Debate about the Electoral college's uselessness in Modern Elections

Note: We are all drunk and/or high. ;)

Be it resolved that: 2 actors, 1 writer and 1 makeup artist have pledged to start or get involved with a movement to abolish the electoral college.

lol True. We had big long poltical debate last night when we all got back to Nick's place. Many issues discussed. We are all voting for Kerry, we all despise Bush--all for different reasons. We all want change in our society and decided to focus our joint efforts in an Artists for Electoral change type movement.

I seriously disagree with the whole electoral college concept. I'm pretty sure we don't have a similar thing here in Canadia. I hope you can get rid of it; it's just not fair.

Afterthought:
I can't conceive of going to the polls knowing my vote wouldn't count. Doesn't that defeat the whole process? Gr.

There's no standing in line in Oregon. We're all absentee. And I voted two weeks ago. I love it.

We can be violated, beaten, fined or imprisoned at her majesty's discretion for failing to vote.

I couldn't imagine being forced to vote.

I have no problem with people who don't vote as long as they realise they are in no position to complain about the outcome.

I stood in line for over an hour Friday night in order to cast my ballot and I didn't even get a sticker. :(

Wonderfully put! Although I wouldn't feel too bad about the last presidential election and being in a electoral college red state. I still believe it was the Florida fiasco that put Bush in office. Too many unanswered questions regarding that whole mess, and the whole Jeb Bush promising beforehand that Florida would see his brother Bush elected? Too coincidental in my eyes considering the outcome.

Yep....I'm with you on being a blue girl in a red state....stinks to high heaven.....but I refuse to not vote..hopefully we can rally the forces and send um back to Tx!

Well said. I live in a state that was considered solidly blue. Then up for grabs. Now it's pretty much back to blue as Kerry is leading by 4 or 5 points depending on the poll. For the 1st time in my voting life (10 yrs) I've been very conflicted about who to vote for and whether I should vote at all - mainly b/c I don't like either one of them. I've read all about the candidates and know their positions on the issues. I just don't really believe either of them. They're politicians, after all, and what are politicians other than power-hungry, empty-promisers? I even went to a moveon.org show (DMB) to try and get myself psyched up for the election and maybe feed off the positive energy of so many people thrilled about a candidate. I'm still lukewarm when it comes to Kerry, though I'm definitely not a fan of Bush.

Of course, I'm still bitter about the primary election. My state holds one of the last primaries in the country, so by the time it gets to us pretty much everyone has been eliminated and there's barely a point in voting. I wanted Dean; I get Kerry. Better than Bush, yes, but not my first choice. And it definitely doesn't help that I was a Dean supporter from the beginning, so I've found it even more difficult to let go of that. Ultimately though, all of my debating over the issues & candidates is a waste of time, as is the thought that I might not vote. It goes against pretty much everything I've ever been taught and everything I believe in NOT to vote, so I'll be there tomorrow, bright and early. Rather than voting for a person though, I'll be voting for change - plain & simple. I just hope it's the right choice.

Decisions are made by those who show up, right?

Hi Stranger! I too am a blue girl in a red state...Ohio of all states and it maddens and saddens me to know my vote likely won't "count". That won't stop me though..no way.

I am also in a state that will go to Bush, but I am STILL VOTING, damn it. I may make a homemade Kerry t-shirt just for my visit to the polls AND the unemployment office! ;)

hell, i know what that means. i live in bush's home state, so figure that out. i had a friend earlier say she's not voting. I've been jokingly telling everyone I'm voting for myself.. and it's a joke, but I'm going to vote. I still don't know who i'm voting for. I know who I'm leaning towards, but it seems like such a big decision. But the fact that she said she's not even going to give an opinion? I told her, half-jokingly, that I'm voting, so I'll at least have the right to bitch about things if they don't go the way I want, and she said she doesn't want a dork or an idiot running the country. she said she votes that they suck and she can complain about them whenever she wants.

i think it's sad. i voted last election too, and i told her this and she just laughed. she's really young though, and doesn't realize how this could affect her for the next 4 (at least) years. i'll be there though. i finally found the wallet with my registration card, and i found out that my polling place is literally up the street from me. i can walk there :) hehe

I too am a blue in a red state and either way, I get the Bush most of the time anyway. I live in TX.

I'll vote - I promise

I vote when I should, sometimes not real sure what I want even as I step into the room....*sigh* it's so confusing.....

One question tho, if I vote will it help you get pregnant? Just wondering if the joy would bring about happy ovaries???

Oh the honour. Thank you for posting on the election. You see, you are very polite. It's all true. Good luck with the pacing, tense husband.

Wow. I just said almost the exact same stuff over at my place, but with a lot less eloquence. Then I came here and read this.

Sing it, sister.

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