Alright, dear readers, you hard-core die-hards:
I made the Sunday LA Daily News Op/Ed page. You can read it here.
Update: It’s a couple of bucks to access an article in the archives. I’ve posted the entire article here for free. (You could always throw a couple of bucks in my PayPal account, just to be cool. Thanks!)
All Elections are Special: Please Don’t Vote
I just received my special election ballot package in the mail. I am an absentee voter. Why? Is it because my rock and roll lifestyle doesn’t permit any kind of commitment? Do I have an unexplainable aversion to places where “I voted” stickers are handed out? Did I choose to have a voting experience comparable to Netflix?
Actually, none of the above. The answer is that I live in a precinct where there are LESS THAN 250 registered voters.
When I first was informed of this, I was stunned. I live in the 6th largest urban area in the world. Right smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles. I was going to say ‘heart of Los Angeles’ but let’s not be silly…what heart? Anyway, to be specific, I live in Echo Park/Silverlake.
Big city, with lots of different people, that speak lots of different languages – with too few stereotypes to go around. When people think of LA, they think gangbanger or buxom blond. Here’s another one: politically apathetic. Someone once said to me that people in LA don’t even know the name of the mayor. I’ve done some research: The mayor is Giuliani or something. Whoever it is – he’s six degrees from Kevin Bacon. Isn’t everyone?
Since I’m not a gangbanger and have never been referred to as ‘buxom’, it takes little for me to seem different. I’m not politically apathetic. I know who the mayor is. Not only am I registered to vote – I know the name of my congressional representative. I’ve even emailed him. Mainly because when you live in Los Angeles, you can never have enough important people IGNORING you.
The sanctity of democracy has been touted in the War on Terror. Our leaders in Washington speak of it as a blanket cure all for political strife. We are spreading democracy. Meaning, we are preemptively attacking sovereign nations so that their citizens will/can vote. Where are our purple fingers in Los Angeles? My figurative inked finger has wagged at those that aren’t registered. “Shame on you. Vote or die! Blahahaha!” My nagging, as with most, has yet to make ONE person decide to go to the polls.
Most politicians will give lip service to this: everyone that is eligible should vote.
You should vote. You should vote for someone who tells you what you should do. You should buy plastic sheeting and duct tape. You shouldn’t smoke, over eat or get an abortion. You should obey the law and love God and country.
The catch-22 of living in a (still) free country is that you CAN choose not to participate in the democratic process and not listen to any of our politicians about how to live your life. Candidly the 2004 Get Out The Vote Campaign became as preachy as the Drug Free America PSAs. The mind-numbing commercials brought my Tivo and I closer than ever.
I stopped my nagging and began re-thinking this issue. Why is it important to get people out to vote? Why is mob rule made to sound so appealing?
When Gray Davis was recalled, the voter lines looked like a premier. People lined up around the block and waited for hours to participate in the event. Huge voter turn out and what happened? Our governor is a movie star.
How embarrassing. California – its Ballot meets Box Office!
Let’s put it this way, if Harriet Miers were a movie star, no one would utter the word “unqualified”. Instead we would all enjoy making puns with the titles of her movies as she got sworn in.
So don’t vote.
You won’t DIE, regardless of what Puffy told you.
You have the right as an American to not participate. You have a stereotype as an Angeleno to live up to. You don’t have to vote. What it means for the process is that instead of mass hysteria – we’ll have fractional hysteria. And the great thing about fractional hysteria is the comfort of blaming low voter turnout.
Don’t ruin that.