Monday, November 5, 2012

We Get What We Deserve

Tomorrow, Americans have an opportunity to elect a president. Why do I say "opportunity?" Because turnout will be nowhere close to 100% of the electorate. To think that we are so cavalier about being able to vote makes me weep. People who live in countries where they are oppressed for even thinking about voting would gladly stand in lines to have their vote registered and counted.

Back in 1996, Martin Walker wrote a book, The President We Deserve, about Clinton's reelection campaign. His thesis was we knew who the president was; we knew his infidelity; we knew his foibles. And we reelected him anyway.

I want to that that a step further. No, I'm not advocating for or against our current president. If you feel you must pounce on me, pounce for what I write, not what you think I believe.

In talking with people over the past year, I'm dismayed at how many are turned completely off by the campaigns. Both campaigns. Up and down the ballot. My friends are burned out from the yelling, negative saturation TV ads, lies and half-truths. Too many are threatening not to vote at all. And herein lies my concern.

If you don't vote, we all get the president and Congress we deserve. If you don't vote for or against a candidate, any candidate, you could be part of the process that gets the other guy elected. If you stay home, you lose your right to bellyache the day after the election and for the next four years. You have not done your civic duty.

I want to see a major change in voting laws. I want voting to be mandatory, not optional. All citizens should have to go to the polls and cast a ballot. Maybe some would vote without learning thing one about the candidates. Hell, that happens today. But 100% turnout should be the least we could do.

I also want a box on the ballot in every category that is "D) None of the Above." Here in Virginia, and a few other states, our choices for president this year would be (in alpha order), A) Virgil Goode, B) Barack Obama, C) Mitt Romney and D) None of the Above. D would likely win. At least, the human winner would not be able to claim a clear mandate from the people if 51% of 50% vote for him. I know it would never work. I know no one has the fortitude to suggest such a change.

But, one of these days pigs will fly and Hell will freeze over. Right now, pigs flying and Hell freezing aren't on the ballot. Two things we can safely bellyache about. Think I'll go for a walk and look for flying pigs.

1 comment:

sharonstruth said...

Betsy,
I couldn't agree more! The fact that, as a nation, we take this special right for granted is beyond my comprehension. Especially women, who had to fight hard for the right. My college daughters have been raised to understand why it's important, in fact my oldest majors in political science and is active in politics in our state. Part of our problem is the two-year long campaign we've had to endure this time around. This country needs campaign finance reform. Too much money is spent and too much time is spent by those in office 'campaigning' and not working in their elected jobs.
Thanks for a great post.
Sharon