Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"School Sucks!" for president

The election cycle is winding up to a fever pitch now, with political ads filling every available spot on the TV (I have to wonder how other products are doing with their advertising at a necessarily lower level) and almost nothing but election coverage in news and print. In addition, this election is another polarizing one. People are passionate about their candidates and the political/ social philosophy they represent. People go to rallies, they cheer and chant, they paste their cars with bumper stickers and litter the shoulders of highways with names. It is all very exciting, but the problem is that the event itself, the actual vote is anticlimactic. It is so tedious and dingy and mundane; waiting quietly in line in a bleak repurposed room strung with cheap bunting and posters of flags, filling out a ballot with an inkpen or some other tool of drudgery before walking back out on the street feeling vaguely let down by the whole experience. This is very far from the ground-shifting sea change that your candidate of choice (Obama, I hope) has been promising. It's pretty difficult to get fired up on a Tuesday anyway. And here you have to take time off of work and stand in line. Plus, on the Big Day, facing the prospect voting, it is pretty easy to rationalize it away. My vote isn't that important anyway. I'll just stay here at work where it's warm and I don't have to stand in line and catch a cold from some weirdo. I have a bumper sticker - that's probably worth more than my vote anyway. And, of course, this is correct - one vote doesn't matter at all. It really doesn't. But voting isn't pleasant for anybody, and once people start to avoid it in large numbers, it does matter.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe everyone else is super excited to go vote. But in case you are like me, I encourage you to go vote now. Check to see if your area has an early voting program - chances are good that they do. Take care of it now - it may be a chore, but if you get it out of the way you can go back to cheering and driving your car with the bumper sticker knowing that you've done your part.

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