Voting and Poop
2008-05-30 - 7:29 a.m.

Overheard in my living room yesterday:

Will: Mummy, does poop come out of your butt?

Me: Yes, Will, but that's potty talk, and we aren't in the potty.

Will: Butt! Butt! Butt! (giggles hopelessly) Butt! Butt!

Me: Alright, that's enough, I'm getting off the couch.

Will (pulling my arm): NOOOOO! Don't go! I'll stop saying it!

Me: Okay. One more chance.

(silence for a moment)

Will: How about I say it one more time?

My dad was big on voting.

Every election that came around, even the little town ones where only 11% of the registered voters bother to show up at the polls, offered an opportunity for a lecture on how voting was a right and a privilege, hard won by our ancestors who had given their lives so that I would have a chance to have my voice heard. Voting is your responsibility as an American, Jennifer. Your civic duty.

It's funny. I would roll my eyes at him when he would start in on his speech, but it stuck with me. Since I turned 18, I have voted in every election I've been eligible to vote in, save for the year I was away at school and thus missed the little town ones. But these days, I am one of the 11% showing up to cast my vote with the crickets.

Tomorrow, the DNC will decide what to do about Florida and Michigan's primaries and the resulting delegates for the Democratic party nominee.

While a decision to seat those delegate would unquestionably tip the scales in Clinton's favor, I am hoping to see those votes counted for a much more basic reason than my own political leanings.

The decision on when to hold the primary is not made by the voters. That's the lawmakers' job. They set up the election; we show up and vote. That's how it works. And yes, the lawmakers in those states screwed up. They didn't listen to the DNC, and they held the elections too early, and now the DNC has their panties in a bunch about the whole thing, and has flung itself, toddler-temper-tantrum-style, onto the floor and said, "FINE. We're just not going to count your votes, then."

The problem with this picture is that it leaves out the little guy. It's a decision that is all about politics and not the least bit about democracy.

Those people--those Americans--went to their polling places on the only day they had to choose from and cast their votes, as is their right, their civic duty, their choice as American citizens. And to say to them that their votes don't matter and won't be counted because the politicians made a bad decision? That seems really, really wrong.

The 15th amendment to the COnstitution allows that people have the right to vote regardless of race, color, or creed. The 19th allows for votes regardless of sex, the 24th regardless of owing taxes, and the 26th regardless of age once a voter turns 18.

Do we need an amendment that guarantees the right to vote regardless of political stupidity? I think we might.


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