11.07.2006

I love to vote

I love Election Day.

I think it should be a national holiday with fireworks and picnics and patriotic speeches. I think we should stand outside polling places and cheer.

I think voting is one of the very coolest things in the whole world.

I'm off to cast my ballot. It's not much of a walk to the school where I vote. On the way I'll be thinking of Alice Paul who was imprisoned, and force fed during a hunger strike, in support of women's suffrage.

I'll be thinking of James Cheney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner who were killed while working in Mississippi for the rights of black men and women to vote.

I'll be thinking of nameless, unknown, men and women who fought in the American Revolution because they wanted to govern themselves.

I'll be grateful to the people who made it possible to vote without owning 'real property', paying a poll tax or passing a literacy test.

It's pretty easy to vote these days cause people devoted their lives to the idea that voting is important.

All you have to do to honor their vision and sacrifice is show up and pull a lever.

90 comments:

SAND STORM said...

All you have to do to honor their vision and sacrifice is show up and pull a lever.


...kinda like an execution:)

M. G. Tarquini said...

My grandmom was ten years old when women in this country got the right to vote. My other grandmom was seventeen.

snarkaholic said...

I'm sorry, but this country was sold off to the highest bidder a long, long time ago. Voting for the major parties is an exercise in futility, the process is an illusion set up to make us believe we have a choice.

If anyone is voting for a Democrat or a Republican, you are voting for the owners of this country that do not give a flying fuck about you.

Anonymous said...

I'll be grateful to the people who made it possible to vote without owning 'real property', paying a poll tax or passing a literacy test.

Yeah, well, we might want to rethink that last one.

Michael Patrick Leahy said...

In which the cruel Miss Snark reveals her true self -- the patriot.

I love this episode !

M. G. Tarquini said...

If anyone is voting for a Democrat or a Republican, you are voting for the owners of this country that do not give a flying fuck about you.

So, if we don't vote, that will fix things?

Katharine said...

You go, Miss Snark! I'll be following your example after work today, and I don't care if the line is 150 deep. I'll stay there till I get to pull those levers.

Zappadong said...

In Switzerland, where I live we can vote about anything and everything. We can start a referendum and then have a vote. And you know what? About 65 % of the Swiss don't give d... . We're spoiled rotten and don't know how lucky we are. I feel like Mrs Snark: it's a privilege! And I take advantage of it.

an oregonian said...

Out here in the rainy backwoods of Oregon, where we do EVERYTHING differently from any other place, we all vote by mail.

For me, who didn't get her ballot in the mail on time, it means a trip to the local library to drop her ballot in the box.

But I agree, Miss Snark. Lever or no, it makes me happy to be an American today. AND I voted for the local library bond! Free books for all!

Cynthia Bronco said...

I let my son push the buttons. It's always big fun.
Hey look! Beta is letting me comment-yay!

rqgbjjn said...

Miss Snark -- preach it, sister!

Voted and proud of it. Said hello to the neighbors and took DS2 (who voted for Thomas Jefferson for baseball commissioner on practice ballot) to see the trucks since we voted at the fire station.

No one said we live in a fair and perfect world. Living in a republic is a lot better than living under communism or sharia law.

HawkOwl said...

I don't see how passing a literacy test before being allowed to vote hampers democracy. If I were dictator, people would have to take a four-hour exam before voting. And score 80% or better. Then maybe people wouldn't elect demagogues and war-mongers.

Anonymous said...

You know, it takes a weird kind of courage to not be cynical about voting these days.

Bravo Miss Snark!

Anonymous said...

Yay, Miss Snark! I could not agree more with every word you said! I'm also thinking of those in other countries who do not have the slightest control over the dictators and thugs who ruin their lives.

I'm with you, and rain shine blizzard or dark of night, I'm pulling that lever.

Anonymous said...

Go, Miss Snark! I'll be queuing up at my local polling station later today.

Democracy is only as good as the people who practise it.

J. F. Constantine said...

I disagree with snakaholic, because I think it's important to participate in the process; however off the rails it may seem. Otherwise, you're just abdicating what little control we have left.

If Democracy were as the Greeks set it up (not a representative democracy, and not run by "professional" politicians), it would probably work better, but meanwhile, it is what it is.

Generalizing about whether a party cares about people is like generalizing about anything else - it's just prejudice. There are people who care - there may not be very many of them, but they are there.

I personally met a man last week who is not a politician, but who has sacrificed a great deal over the last several years to insure that the Constitution did not get raped. He has been successful so far, and he intends to keep fighting - at great peril and cost to himself. If we don't do our meager little part with people like him, then we might as well move elsewhere.

My grandfather immigrated here from a place where they didn't care, and they certainly didn't let you vote. He sacrificed a great deal so I could be born here and not there. I vote whenever I have the chance.

Bravo to you Miss Snark! I'm wearing my "I Voted" sticker all freakin' day long.

Mark said...

My ancestors came here in 1635 on a ship called the Defence. We fought in the American Revolution early on and lost the family fortune to finance the march to Quebec in 1775.

http://www.genealogy.com/genealogy/users/y/o/r/Mark-a-York/index.html

And all these decades later I can't sell that story to anyone in publishing. That's good ole American BS in any language.

Anonymous said...

snarkaholic-

How depressing to see that some people still haven't learned the lessons from 2000. To quote Bismarck: "Politics is the Art of the Possible." When I think of all the damage that could have been avoided if the self-righteous priests of Lefty idealism hadn't thrown away their votes on Nader I'm reminded that the idiocy of fundamentalist thinking isn't owned by any party or creed.

Since 2000, things have gone about as badly as they could have, certainly worse than anyone could have expected; the environment is being treated like a garbage dump, the filthy rich are getting richer, the poor and middle class, poorer, venerable institutions of democracy have been violated and dishonored under a petulant one-party rule; we are in a state of perpetual war, thousands of Americans are dead and wounded because of it, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead; america is loathed and mistrusted throughout the world.

The country's going to shit, and that's what Nader voters wanted, right? So I wonder, when's this Revolution that's going to change everything gonna happen? When is voting for third-party candidates that don't have a chance in hell in winning, while the Republicans continue to band together (well, maybe not for long) in a disciplined voting block gonna pay off for the issues that I presume you favor?

Never. You're betraying those issues for the cheap thrill of feeling ideologically pure. So, I'm glad that while people like you are largely responsible for the situation this country is in, you're enjoying your false feeling of intellectual and moral superiority.

Idiots.

Anonymous said...

If you don't vote, you have no right to bitch. No matter how bad things get.

blaironaleash said...

voting isn't a privilege, it's a right. although i can think of plenty of politicians who'd like to convince us otherwise.

here in the UK on polling day, I tend to think of Emily Wilding Davison, and feel humbled and inadequate.

MichaelPH said...

My vote today is a vote for change...and the fact that I have the right to make my voice heard is a great thing. I've lived in another country where after the votes were cast the ruling party would sit around with the ballots splayed open and uncounted. It was South America. Here we are in danger of doing the same thing in a high-tech fashion. I urge everyone to vote; use your voice, exercise your right!

Sam said...

If you vote, you take interet in your government, which is a good thing.
I have to vote by mail from overseas - so I get to vote a couple weeks ahead of everyone else.
:-)

CTM in NYC said...

Amen.

I just got back from voting at the school in my neighborhood.

I did hear someone humming "America" in the booth next to mine. Could it have been Ms. Snark?

Bill Ectric said...

I Declare Cooping Day!

As if literary folks needed another excuse to get drunk and wear each other’s clothes, I propose that Election Day, November 7, be declared “Cooping Day” in memory of Edgar Allan Poe’s demise.

According to The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore,

“This is the theory given in the vast majority of Poe biographies, although it cannot be proven true. Coincidence or not, the day Poe was found on the street was election day in Baltimore and the place near where he was found, Ryan's Fourth Ward Polls, was both a bar and a place for voting. In those days, Baltimore elections were notorious for corruption and violence. Political gangs were willing to go to great extremes to ensure the success of their candidates. Election ballots were stolen, judges were bribed and potential voters for the opposition intimidated. Some gangs were known to kidnap innocent bystanders, holding them in a room, called the "coop." These poor souls were then forced to go in and out of poll after poll, voting over and over again. Their clothing might even be changed to allow for another round. To ensure compliance, their victims were plied with liquor and beaten. Poe's weak heart would never have withstood such abuse. This theory appears to have been first offered publicly by John R. Thompson in the early 1870s to explain Poe's condition and the fact that he was wearing someone else's clothing. A possible flaw in the theory is that Poe was reasonably well-known in Baltimore and likely to be recognized.”

I believe we can pull this off without the beatings. Drinking is not uncommon at political rallies, and I, for one, have been known to wear ill-fitting clothes that don’t belong to me. In my younger days, I was once voted the best Nell at a Rocky Horror event.

Of course, we have to vote first! This is important (understatement); but once our ballots are cast and we are waiting, longing, for a change in the wind, we might as well do something to take the edge off.

Rei said...

All you have to do to honor their vision and sacrifice is show up and pull a lever.

Or press a button on a touchscreen, and accidentally have your vote cast for a straight-Republican ticket. ;)

J/K. :) Everybody, get out there and vote!

Voting for the major parties is an exercise in futility, the process is an illusion set up to make us believe we have a choice.

I encounter this attitude so often, and if it weren't such a serious issue, it would make me laugh. Everybody believes that they are mainstream. Well, you're not. There is no such thing as a mainstream political view that has been abandoned by both parties -- only different stances on different issues. You see this most prominently with people who call themselves "moderates". They talk about how the Democrats are too far left, and the Republicans too far right. They want someone who is "in the middle". However, if you ask for their definition of "in the middle", it'll be completely different from the next moderate's "in the middle", which is yet again different from the next. Person A might call "in the middle" pro-choice, pro-war, anti-death penalty, anti-kyoto. Person B might be just the opposite. And so on.

All think they're mainstream, and complain about how extreme both parties are. Well, sorry, but this is a representative democracy. You can't pick and choose your particular ideological views. All you can vote for is a candidate, so show up, pick the closest match you can find, and vote for them. :)

Wilfred the Author said...

All you have to do to honor their vision and sacrifice is show up and pull a lever.

Not to make light of a very nice blog, Miss Snark, but are you voting or playing a slot machine with a pail of gin in your lap?

I was up bright and early and only stood in line for half an hour.

Kim said...

You don't have to vote republican or democrat. Vote libertarian. Vote Green Party. Write in a name. Hell, if you live in New Jersey, there's usually a ficus tree runnning against one of our state senators (I swear that's no joke. One year the ficus won. However, since it's a tree... it couldn't hold up its right hand OR swear on a Bible). Just get heard.

If you do nothing to change things, you've no right to complain. Men and women have given their lives to give you the chance to induce change. The least you can do is use that opportunity to create change.

Anonymous said...

I vote, but it just seems like an excersise in futility to me. I just cringe at the thought that I'm simply voting for the lesser of two evils.

eric said...

That was Battle Hymn of the Snark playing softly in the background, no?

Another oregonian said...

On my ballot in Portland, OR, I saw:

1 national question
2 state questions
23 local questions.

To those who say that a vote for any party is a vote for a festering sore of American corruption, I am delighted to report that 88.46% of my ballot is answering direct, local questions about public school funding, library funding, conservation and parental notification in teen abortion cases.

Happy Election Day, everyone.

Lorra said...

Although the present owners of this country obviously don't give a flying f..k about most Americans, I'll be dog-damned if I'm going to roll over and let them walk across my face and trample my rights!

I voted today because that right has not yet been invalidated by those determined to chip away at democracy.

Despite the fact that this country is in tatters and reviled througout a good portion of the world, I'm still an American and I'm going to fight until my last breath to protect the rights our forebears died for . . . Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush be damned.

The polls were jammed in the middle of the day: not exactly a sign of apathy.

JeMcK said...

You go, girl(s) - and boys. Yes, there are a lot of problems with democracy - as I believe Winston Churchill said, it's the worst system of government apart from all the rest. But not voting means you're part of the problem, not part of the solution.

I know I'm one of a great many in the UK and across Europe who are watching these elections closely in hopes that we'll see some checks and balances putting a crimp in this administration's excesses.

Jessica said...

I think of Schwerner, Cheney, and Goodman every time I vote. Thanks for that.

Dave said...

I happily voted for my favorite weasels (politicians) just a few minutes ago. I never miss an election.

Tawna Fenske said...

Wow, I didn't realize so many Snarklings were my fellow Oregonians.

Ditto what "another Oregonian" said. The bulk of the issues on my Central Oregon ballot weren't tied to political parties, but there were plenty of measures tied to healthcare and education. How could I not give a damn?

And though I dearly love being able to vote by mail here in Oregon, I do miss getting those little stickers that say, "I voted."

Tawna

Cheryl Mills said...

I'm a Georgia voter, and damn proud of it.

Quit yer bitchin. Vote!

Miss Snark said...

Literacy tests weren't given to determine if you could read. They were given to select groups of people, based primarily on race, to keep them from voting.

cathy said...

Yay! Everone vote!
Make sure you double-check your ballot too.

In Australia, all of us 18 to 80 have to vote. And all the ballots are on paper. Lots of people still don't care, but it means you have to at least put in a blank paper.

shelby said...

Maybe I'm weird in this regard, but there have been elected officials for whom I've voted who have acted in what I consider to be my best interest and in line with what I consider to be my priorities. Nobody has voted the way I would every time, but to get that I'd have to run myself. No, my senator doesn't call me on the phone and say, "hey, I really care about you. Let's do lunch!" but when she votes for something that I agree with, I'm glad I helped to elect her.

So anyway, yeah--vote.

Word ver: ifxok--I fix, okay?

Christine Fletcher said...

Oregonian #4 here! I filled out my ballot at my kitchen table a few days ago, sipping a cup of coffee and listening to Count Basie. Maybe, someday, all you lever-pullers and button-pushers will reach our level of civilization...

I understand the cynicism. I do. But as the first Oregonian here pointed out, most of our ballot deals with local or state initiatives. Think local stuff doesn't matter? Tell that to the out-of-state special interest groups who have been pouring money into OUR politics. To effect change on a national scale, all they need is to pass initiatives, one state at a time. Are you willing to let them get away with it in YOUR state?

"All politics is local." -- Tip O'Neill

HawkOwl said...

Literacy tests weren't given to determine if you could read. They were given to select groups of people, based primarily on race, to keep them from voting.

That's very possible, but it's really more a comment on the availability of education for certain ethnicities, than on the pros and cons of having the illiterate vote. The fact that you can't vote if you're in jail also affects some ethnic groups much more than others, but we keep it that way anyway. Seems fair to me.

spyscribbler said...

Pull a lever? Boy, I feel like moving after the voting experience today.

I don't know voting rights off the top of my head, but I sure know mine were violated today. I thought that only happened in far-off places, certainly not where I live ...

Spoke said...

I pray it goes well, without Government interference like the last Big Vote. No matter what you people decide, we people up here feel it.
When a mouse is sleeping beside an elephant, even the slightest movement of the elephant is frightening.
Prime Minister Harper is one of Bush's puppets...at the very least he shows signs of being an apprentice...

Kate Thornton said...

I have voted in every election open to me except the local election held in my community when I was serving in Desert Storm.

I voted absentee the year I was stationed away from home and we had a national election. I will vote this evening at my local polling place where my neighbors are the precinct workers. In two years - when I retire and if I am physically able - I will *be* a local precinct worker.

I will vote on state and local measures, and for my councilman, Elliott Rothman. I will vote my conscience, knowing there are many others like me who use the sacred right without cynicism or irony or futility.

I will be glad to have the right to vote without passing tests or paying money or giving favors.

For one moment, I will feel the power in my hands to change - or not change - the way we do business as a nation, as a state, as a community. And I will feel a connection with other voters, other citizens, other times.

Thank you, Miss Snark, for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Miss Snark.
I can't help but feel disappointed in the people that rant and rave and pride themselves on not voting. Watching people in East Timor vote in '99 really moved me. They turned out under threat of violence and death as their houses were razed back in their villages, travelling to polling stations well out of reach of knowing wether or not their families were safe back at home. Don’t agree with politics and politicians and ‘the system’ by all means, but don’t be stupid enough to throw off your right to a voice. People fought and suffered and died for those rights: never be complacent.

The Unpretentious Writer said...

I <3 voting, it makes me feel important. Also, my polling place was right up the street and I could walk.

Democracy and excercise at the same time!

Lorra said...

Hey Miss Snark --

We go one step further here in good old O-Hio to keep the disenfranchised from voting.

The following are now required to vote: a driver's license (the poor, the disabled, the homeless, including battered women in shelters, don't have one -and why would they? They don't drive.); a current utility bill(What?! you mean a statement from the gas company for the furnace in the house they don't live in?); or a bank statement -- Hahahahhaha - the statement must be from the bank account for the money they don't have.

This is democracy at work in the state that decided the last presidential election. You gotta love living in O-Hio.

Sal said...

I vote absentee and I'm not from Oregon. We had six pages of balloting on local and state issues here in sunny (believe it!) San Francisco.

I vote absentee so if I pull a Bella Stander on the day before election day I won't miss voting. I vote absentee so a power outage or a fire or a glitch or a typhoon won't keep me from voting. I vote absentee so those last minute backstabs and bodyslams won't affect my vote.

If I get my ballot in early enough (October 27th this time 'round), my vote will be counted with every one else's. If I turned it in at the polling place today, well ... it may never be counted at all.

Dama Negra said...

Ignorant, illiterate people should NEVER, EVER vote. Trust me.

julie said...

I walked to the polls this morning. Not good for the lungs (too much mold in the air from recent rains) but great for the soul and the WIP.

Predicted turnout in the area is about 36%. Betcha more than 36% will be griping about the outcome of the election tomorrow.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

I don't need the country's "owners"(???) to care about me. I care about me. I am fully capable, as an adult woman, of caring about me. I need the government to run the country. The less they care about me, the better.

For those who complain about the republican/democrat choices we have - run for office. Run! We can only vote for the people who run!

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's easy to vote. Not so easy to make sure it gets counted the way you intended.

Alley Splat said...

Why bitch about voting, when the alternative is so much worse? Universal suffrage was won at huge cost, but it gives everyone a voice, however imperfectly some politicians may listen to what that voice is saying.

I remember the pictures of the first free elections in South Africa, when they elected Mandela, and the joy on people's faces that someone was finally allowing them to be heard.

We've forgotten what it was like when only the rich and privileged had a say in how our lives were run. I'm with Miss Snark - I love voting. It should be a champagne occasion.

Lauren said...

Don't forget to thank the women who stood strong against harrassment, jail and worse to get YOU and ME and ALL WOMEN the right to vote too, Miss Snark. Less than 100 years ago . . .

Miss Snark said...

Alice Paul is the first person I mentioned.

Anonymous said...

"Ignorant, illiterate people should never . . ."

Based on the last presidential outcome, a lot of ignorant people DID vote.

Lauren said...

Oh, of course you did. I was a dunderhead--or a nitwit. Sorry about that. Have you read the new book, The Vote, by Sybil Downing? Very good. I'm reviewing it soon.

Lorra said...

There are illiterate people who are bright and thoughtful.

And there are very well educated people who are profoundly ignorant.

Who's to say which of these groups should be denied the right to vote?

mahukey said...

I just keep thinking of Bushies face falling as he realizes he lost the house and the senate in one day. *evil laugh*
I hope he cries.

We can change things people, it takes a will and a voice. But we have to speak up!

Don't let democracy die because of apathy and depression. We have choices, life is full of choices we just need to make the ones count that make a difference for the people.

*The people shouldn't fear the government, the government should fear the people." V for Vendetta

Writerious said...

Ya know, it WOULD be a good idea to make election day a national holiday just to make it easier for most people to get to the polls -- and to prevent hanky-panky about work schedules. In a certain large city I won't mention, the school district decided to have a parent-teacher conference day on election day, and won't give teachers time off to go vote. Boo, hiss. Some teachers may just block out a time in their schedules and take off for the polls anyway.

Of course, if everyone did vote-by-mail as we do in Oregon, even that wouldn't be an issue. It's not a perfect system -- in cases of over-controlling spouses, it could be hard for the controllee to vote privately -- but it gives everyone one less excuse not to vote when the "polling place" is your own home.

To those who say, "Hu-waaah! Hu-waaah! Politics is all controlled by politicians! All I have is one measly vote!" I say, aw, go play in traffic, would you? Use your vote to cast your say in government. You get one vote, I get one vote. That's how it works. Or better yet, if you think you could do a better job than the politicians, run for some minor office and work your way up. Participate in the process, or get out of the way.

Marva said...

Join with the Oregonians and ask for your absentee ballot. The best part is that once you've voted by mail, then the various politicians or advocates quit calling and concentrate on those who haven't yet cast their ballots.

The Oregon mail-in ballot is superb.

katiesandwich said...

There is some interesting discussion on this on Jenny Rappaport's blog.

Vote, damn it! Too late here in the Eastern time zone if you didn't, but do it next time. Ignorance of the candidates is not an excuse, because you shouldn't BE ignorant. You live here, don't you?

I said everything else I wanted to say on Jenny Rappaport's blog. I don't want to type it again. Oh, and levers for voting, Miss Snark? Wow. I had a pen with which to fill in the dots next to the candidates' names.

Jean said...

I have exercised this right since I was old enough to do so. I'm puzzled when people choose not to. You list many good reasons why it's important to vote.

Snarkaholic wrote: Voting for the major parties is an exercise in futility, the process is an illusion set up to make us believe we have a choice.

Then vote for one of the non-major parties or independents out there. Write-in a vote. Nobody can do it better than you? Run for the slot. And, as someone mentioned, many items on the ballot don't involve voting for people, they involve deciding whether you'll be taxed for something or what laws will go into effect.

My absentee ballot went in more than two weeks ago after several hours of research -- very worthwhile research, I may add. Sigh. I do miss being able to vote from my home location.

Dama Negra said...

"Who's to say which of these groups should be denied the right to vote?"

Maybe not me, but take a look at what is happening in Mexico so you'll understand why I said what I said.

Ignorants are worse than illiterates. While illiterates can be profound and thoughtful, they have no knowledge of history, which is so determinant of the future. But ignorants... well, it's obvious why they shouldn't vote. We're seeing it in Mexico. And it's hurting.

bebe said...

"Ignorant, illiterate people should NEVER, EVER vote. Trust me."

How ironic. That's the most ignorant thing I've seen in a long time...

...and I spend a LOT of time on the internet.

Actually I don't care if they do vote, or should vote, as long as they're allowed to vote. And they are. So nyah.

Kim said...

I apologize if this repeats, but my first comment got zapped by the gremlins again...

No group should be denied the right to vote - who would have the right to make this decision? Illiteracy and ignorance are not the same and should not be confused that way. When this country was founded, not everyone was literate, should those people not have been given the right to vote?

When slavery ended and ALL men were given the right to vote - should that have been based on whether or not they could read?

How about when women won the right?

Illiteracy does not necessarily equal stupid and history has been passed down in oral tradition for many, many generations. Learned men (and women) can make poor choices just as easily.

just remember - our current president is an ivy league grad

spyscribbler said...

Oh Lorra, that's not even the start of it, when it comes to Ohio. My voting choices were broadcasted, along with my name, to everyone in line. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. It didn't make me change my vote, but it's just the principle of the matter! And it makes me wonder why two people before me were asking for new ballots.

John Anthony Sperling said...

I believe there are three groups of people who should not vote:

1. People who misuse apostrophes
2. Jewel-encrusted realtors
3. Sir Chauncey of the House of Whitecap (although that's more of a person than a group)

And although I would love to take a superior, high-minded stance on the subject of offering a lottery prize for voting, I cannot.

I believe in facing facts, and the fact is that voter turnout will double if voters are automatically eligible to win ca$h prize$.

If you do not agree with the above paragraph, it simply means you have not spent enough time in liquor stores.

lauowolf said...

Pull a lever?
How high tech!
I got to connect the arrows in black pen on a paper ballot.
It was goofy.

Maya said...

When I was in grammar school, I was taught that many of the early settlers who came to America were victims of religious persecution. For this reason, the founders of the United States were intent upon separating church and state.

Because the founders had seen much abuse of power, they built a system of checks-and-balances. Because they had seen enemies of those in power thrown into prison and left to rot, they demanded the right of habeas corpus--the right not to be unlawfully imprisoned without evidence. The founders gave the accused the right to confront both his accusers and the evidence against him.

As my teachers explained what each and every one of these rights meant, I was proud to be an American.

I have been appalled to see the direction this country has taken over the past six years. The ironic thing is that the administration has been vocal in complaining about judicial activism as though the judiciary were the ones responsible for moving away from the intent of the founding fathers.

I voted today and will continue to vote because I remember the words of Pastor Martin Niemoeller and wanted to express my opinion before "there was no one left to speak up."

Natalie B said...

I wonder why more people don't feel the way you do. I'm still trying to grasp the idea that my state actually had an initiative on the ballot to create a lottery that would randomly select one voter to win a million dollars each time we have an election. Why do people need extra incentives to vote??

Anonymous said...

I live in South Africa. 12 years ago, democracy arrived. 12 years folks. Not when our grandparents were young. 12 years ago.

Like splat said, that moment when we all stood in meandering queues, when we lined up in all our various hues and cast our votes together - that moment was magic.

Sure, democracy's a flawed system. Show me one human invented system that isn't. But America has become an ogre in the eyes of large parts of the world. You people are the ones who can stop that. Don't whine about voting - go out there and get the idiots out of office.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of how literacy tests were used in the past to disenfranchise minorities, if you can't read, or if you can't read at more than the most basic decoding level, then you can't possibly understand the often complex pro and con arguments in the voter handbooks, and you can't understand anything else written about the candidates and the measures on the ballots. That leaves you at the mercy of radio and TV ads and we've all seen how frequently those ads take the high ground.

Sorry, Ms. Snark - it's time to bring back literacy tests.

Samuel Tinianow said...

It's pretty easy to vote these days cause people devoted their lives to the idea that voting is important.

Tell that to this Ohio voter going to school out of state, whose home address received a number of highly suspicious, anonymous phone calls inquiring about his residency, and who mysteriously did not receive his absentee ballot.

Yes, I'd say a great many people have devoted their lives to the idea that voting is important--and, as a result, have devoted very large amounts of time to keeping people they don't like from voting.

Mac said...

Since voting is so important, there's another possibility the US should consider - simply make voting compulsary for ALL citizens.

Treat it as one of the obligations of bein a citizen - just like jury duty.

It works in places like Australia.

Mac

thraesja said...

Well said, everyone. Especially Maya and the anonymous from South Africa.
Much of the world waits impatiently to see how you guys voted this time.
And for those mocking the pen and paper votes, sometimes simple is better. Hell of a lot easier to get an independant recount done if the numbers look fishy. Takes longer to see results, but wonky software can't corrupt them, and even if someone holds a bonfire, the missing votes will be obvious.

Kari said...

I live in Ecuador, where voting is compulsary. It definitely has drawbacks, but because everyone of voting age is involved, voting day becomes a type of celebration. People are out on the streets, buying food and toys for kids, taking walks through the park, discussing politics. Families get together for the day, catch up on each others' lives, have a big meal together. Voting lines are long, but no one minds, because you are in line with neighbors, relatives, and friends. It is very different from voting in the States. I think Miss Snark would enjoy it. It is very much a carnival-like atmosphere (in a good way).

Anonymous said...

Um, Maya, I believe if you check your facts you will find that the Founding Fathers only intended monied or landed gentlemen to vote. Not everyone could vote. Women couldn't vote. Slaves or indentured couldn't vote. Poor men couldn't vote, even if they were white. You lose your right to vote by becoming a felon.

The attempts to disenfranchise those of color or alternate belief or lifestyle are on going and growing more and more insidious. Florida and Ohio are the largest noises recently; but ask the NAACP watchdogs about the techniques.

Maya said...

Anonymous: I made no claims that the founding fathers were inerrant.

You make valid points. The founders of the U.S. were white, male, wealthy and paternalistic. Hello? That hasn't changed since 1776. What has changed is that those who are non-white, female and poor now have a voice. They may not always win, but they have won important victories in a system controlled by those same white, male, wealthy and paternalistic founders.

I believe those victories were made possible because our forefathers were wise enough to recognize the concept that "power corrupts." They built a flexible and muscular system to provide for checks against the abuses created by their own greed and arrogance. That system has been successful in adapting to extraordinary change over the past 250 years.

Are attempts still made on a regular basis to disenfranchise those of color or alternate lifestyles? Of course. However, I believe that the majority of Americans are well-meaning, moderate people. When greedy, bigoted and arrogant people over-reach, the pendulum swings in the other direction. That happened yesterday.

I registered as a Republican many years ago. My vote yesterday did not reflect my party's line. That's the beauty of the system. When people try to muck with the sleek engine of our government, the vehicle develops knocks and must receive a periodic tune-up. That's the true power of the ballot box. It provides a wake-up call to legislators on both ends of the spectrum that, if they want to keep their jobs, they need to move toward the center of that spectrum.

lauowolf said...

Not worth voting?

We just re-elected my city council person by 140 votes.
His opponent had three times the budget, being both independently wealthy, as well as backed by a local crooked developer.

Maybe they won't be demolishing the Victorian houses next door.
Or building over my park.
(Both real options.)

)

Mazement said...

OK, for all you smart people: Remember how the scoring worked on the SAT test? There was a penalty for each wrong answer, but even if you guessed at random, the points from the questions you guessed right would exactly balance out the penalty for the ones you guessed wrong. If you could rule out even one of the choices and guess among the others, then you'd gain points on average.

It's the same with voting. In an ideal world, the stupid people would exactly cancel each other out, and the ignorant people would be right more often than wrong. ("Right" in the sense that they'd vote for the candidate who most closely supported what their views would be if they thought about them.)

In practice, this hasn't worked, because one party is really good at getting all the stupid people to vote for them. But the solution is for the other party to start targetting the stupid demographic, too. (Obviously they'd continue to make sensible arguments to attract the sensible voters; they'd just need to come up with more random stupid arguments as well.)

As to literacy tests...stupid rich people have the resources to cram for the test and just barely pass despite their limitations. Stupid or uneducated poor people don't have those resources. So literacy tests tend to bias the voting pool in favor of the rich. Poor people have too many obstacles to voting already and we don't need to add any more.

Anonymous said...

Not all the founding fathers were wealthy, that is a common myth spread to discredit the work they did. Read some books on the topic and enlighten yourself - the work they did was amazing (for all its faults) and is something that has never been replicated.

skybluepinkrose said...

I'm late to the party because I worked at the polls yesterday. Had to sleep in today to recover, but all-in-all it was a great day.

A couple of musings -- I notice something, and I notice it often. While both parties sling mud with equal glee in their ads, just one side seems to do so in writers' forums. On a blog is not so bad, but I have twice seen it in print in an industry magazine, both times as inside jokes between a pair of famous-name writers (two distinct pairs, four writers total). Can you imagine the outcry if the other side had done it? No matter whom you agree with -- not cool.

On literacy tests. In our area, we can and do assist voters who need special help, even if we are so busy we can hardly visit the necessary. Assistance can be given by a worker or the voter's personal helper, who must sign the ballot. We read ballots to and "take dictation from" two blind people, a dyslexic person who has never mastered reading, and an ESL immigrant who has learned a lot of English but not quite enough. I can't imagine life without reading, but many who cannot read compensate in other ways, and must not be disenfranchised.

Georgiana said...

Bravo Miss Snark, excellent post.

I took my fourteen-year-old son with me to help me vote yesterday so he could read the ballot to me. Not because I can't read but because the particular neurological illness I have affects my eyes and I was worried I wouldn't be able to read the choices properly.

I was really pleased to see the machines we used offered both large text and high contrast options but I was still glad to have him with me.

Does anyone have to use the audio link instead of word verification? The new background noise of the guy talking is kind of strange and annoying. And I see that it's not working at all today, I'm going to have to get one of my kids to read the word verification to me. Poor things.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Miss Snark and I am proud to vote. However, I do realize we live in a plutocracy.

And, since Veteran's Day is near I would like to thank all the men and women who have fought and are fighting to keep us safe and free. -JTC

Anonymous said...

It's not fair to call people stupid just because they voted for the party we didn't like. Perhaps their opinions aren't informed, but that they disagreed with us on some point or other doesn't make 'em dumb or sheep.

And please, name me the founding fathers who didn't own their own business, or weren't their own master in a trade? If you can, I'll be happily surprised. That's what was meant by them being monied. They were middle class or better.

HawkOwl said...

Odd how people assume that "rich people" and "poor people" will vote differently and/or the ones will vote to oppress the others. I've generally found that in the demographic I hang out with, the higher the income, the more socialist the voter.

What's also humorous, to the outside observer of a US election, is all the talk of democracy, rights, founding fathers, making a difference, etc, when your constitution is so designed that you can vote, as a people, to elect one guy, and yet legally the other guy becomes president. That's really the interesting aspect of your politics as far as I'm concerned. (Although I have to admit I'm curious to see how the next guy is going to clean up Bush's mess.)

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"And please, name me the founding fathers who didn't own their own business, or weren't their own master in a trade? If you can, I'll be happily surprised."

I'd be just plain suprised. You have to have a certain amount of initiative to be a founding father. Courage, even to the point of risk-taking. Drive. Vision. Of course they owned their own businesses or were their own master in a trade.

Skybluepinkrose, I wondered silently how many of us Snark-readers were of the non-mud-slinging party. I still wonder.

Anonymous said...

There's no arguing it's a mess, and no arguing Dubya had a hand in it. But no president can do anything by himself.

Jim Oglethorpe said...

I guess it makes me sad that we can't just agree with Miss Snark's jubiliation without having to put our views out there so blatantly. We are lucky to live in a free society. I love election day too. Power to the people, baby. No matter what the outcome--we all get our say. Why, why, why do commentors have to always make it political? You know, not every writer hates George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. Talk of" stolen" elections (although I haven't heard much about vote supression the past two days) I would never go on THIS particular blog and slam candidates of the other party before or after an election. As a published author, life-long Republican, and wife of a US soldier I am trying not to take this personally but it feels personal. Politics aside: election day is a great day for all. Republican, Democrat, Green Party, Libertarians--if you voted, you have my respect and appreciation in this forum My point is: Thanks Miss Snark for saying what you said and not naming names. Thanks for keeping this site politics-free. You have class. And class is rare. I like my fellow Snarklings and love that this blog unites us as writers...you all make me smile and inspire me in more ways than you know. Have at it. Slam me if it makes you feel better. But that's how I feel.