Dear Aunt Acid,
Who are you going to vote for (in the presidential election)?
Well toots, I’m glad you asked. Not because I’m going to satisfy your curiosity on this particular issue, but because it gives me the opportunity to remark once again about what a fabulous country we have right here in the US of A. As Craig Kilbourne of the Late Show on television once said “America is the best idea for a country ever!” and one of the things that makes us that way is that every four years all the citizens of a certain age have the right to vote, and to do so privately, without fear of repercussions like being beaten or killed for it. Once upon a time not so many years ago, only white men who owned property were allowed a vote. Then it became possible for white men to vote even if they werent wealthy enough to be a landowner. Still later it became possible for men who were not white to vote–and for women to do it too! Even if they were unmarried, unwealthy, and unwhite, women in the last 100 years have been able to participate as citizens who get to make decisions as well as do the work. Yes, kiddies, now all the adults who are legal citizens can vote and we no longer have to stand in lines all day long to do so!! We can vote by mail. We can vote early! (But only in Cook County is there a history of being able to vote often and even while dead, and the authorities are doing a great job of stamping that sort of thing out). One Citizen, One Vote, One Nation. And every vote does count….even if the results are disputed. By voting, we participate in the shaping of our country’s zeitgeist, the prevailing system of beliefs that are lived and are looked at, talked about, and studied. We become more aware of what’s being done, and how it is being done, and by whom. We get to take a look at our needs as a country, we have input to decisions about allocations of spending for healthcare, housing, food, education, and the infrastructure such as roads, bridges and sewers. It gives us the opportunity to become more aware of the world that exists beyond our own homes, out into our neighborhoods and towns, cities, states and our place as a nation in the world. By voting, you have a say in the decisions being made AND you have the right to talk about and criticize any parts you don’t like with the full authority of one who participates! Abraham Lincoln said “He has the right to criticize, who has the heart to help”. (But I’m still not voting for him …this time).
In addition to being bombarded with information about issues and candidates, election years are a time when millions of dollars are spent by all the major political parties. They buy air time on TV and ad space in magazines and newspapers. The printers of all those glossy cardstock full color mailers are happy for the business. Think of all the money spent on tshirts and signs! What a lovely boost for the economy at a time when we certainly need to keep the money circulating around.
Of course, what also circulates around are the most incredible stories and rumors, hoping to make the candidates look worse than they manage to do all by themselves. Every year I like to listen to the hyperbole, and the wild tales. This year’s favorite comes from my hairdresser, who has it on very good authority from a friend of her son who is a gamer and has friends on the internet. One of these friends has secret government connections, and has actually seen the report that verifies that Barack Obama was actually born in Bedrock, and early in life fathered a child who was placed on a doorstep and adopted. (BamBam has no idea; do you think perhaps he should be told…..??) Of course, this tale is nonsense, pure rubble, I mean rubbish. It is no more true than any of the nasty rumors and stories that have circulated in the last few months including the one about McCain and his brother McAble. That man doesnt look like he’d want to hurt anyone, does he? Hmm. Don’t pay ANY attention to this sort of thing!
But DO vote.