Vote or don’t


voteforpedro.jpgAlabama is slow in many respects, including kicking off election season. Voters (the few there are) head to the polls Tuesday.

Apathy is a big reason why locals stay away in droves from the ballot box. It’s easy to become apathetic, given the dominance of one political party (then another) during most of state history, colorful but wholly unqualified candidates and an insanely long constitution (743 amendments and counting, the world’s longest).

I’m voting. But I have my doubts.

Every year seems like an election year in Alabama. This year is national midterms, plus governor and legislative offices. Next year is mayoral race (God help us) and 2008 is a presidential year.

I’ll research the candidates, check the editorial pages and cast my ballot. For a stretch of the 1990s, I was a lot more disgusted with the whole process and refused to vote.

PACs and political parties dominate the debate. Those with money control the message and the agenda. The citizens have little recourse except to vote for the least among evils.

I believe democracy works, but works best when active citizens participate in voting and follow the issues. I also believe that few governmental actions have significant impact on my daily life.

This whole red states-blue states stuff is utter nonsense. I don’t believe They are out to get me, and a majority of people reside comfortably on the middle ground on the important issues. Pitting the masses against one another is an age-old tactic in maintaining the power elite while distracting everyone else.

Moderate voices may not be the loudest, but they resonate with America because they are sane and sensible. Politics and elections tend to force candidates to extreme positions to distinguish themselves, but rarely reflect the will of the people.

So now, I’m only mildly disgusted with the electoral process.

It would be great if you voted, a shame if you didn’t. Most democracies have higher participation rates, and with a few adjustments, the United States could improve turnout.

A few folks I know have begun to take their voting responsibility more seriously. No longer are they content to let idiots like me and the extremists stuff the ballot box.

Voting matters, but it should matter more.


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