PAY TO PLAY, PLAY TO STAY
I may not vote this time around. And that would be the first time in decades I don’t. When I turned 18, the voting age was still 21. 18-year-olds didn’t get to vote until I was 24. But Nixon still won.
It’s not like it’s difficult to vote. I have a hi-tech, anti-alien, terrorist-preventing driver’s license, so should I be questioned–given my demographic that’s unlikely—I’ll be allowed exercise my inalienable right to touch the screen. Plus, if the weather’s nice, the polling place is within walking distance. And the “crowds” there on a weekday mid-morning, will be more campaign volunteers than would be voters.
Still, why bother? I ask. I live in a very centrist place, for the national offices, the two incumbent D.I.N.O.s have 20 pt. margins in the polls, plus even if they didn’t they—their token R.I.N.O. opponent, too—are all 1%ers or beholden to them. The local elections are as bad, because when running all pols (both D and R, it’s hard to tell them apart locally) talk about improving schools, fighting drugs, creating jobs, upgrading infrastructure, blah-blah-blah, but when seated it’s back to pay to play, play to stay politics as usual.
There are no extremes of anything around here, no mega churches, county clubs or street corner drug markets are in or even near my neighborhood. So I am physically safe from all that; but sadly, I ‘m not safe intellectually; I also live in a global community where my blackout shades and white noise machines can do nothing to protect me from the extremist fear mongers who invade my space; pro and amateur alike, from those paid by the term, to those paid by the click, even to those who just like to hear the voices in their heads spoken aloud, they are all in my face as soon as I tap a remote or screen.
But, still from the safety of my suburban “fortress,” I try to see the silly side of it all—humor as therapy, you should try it—and imagine election season as a windup version of a bumper car demolition derby. But doing that, I can’t help but also see, and here record, the post-party (post-partisan?) after-hours scene where the real owners of the electoral carnival are backstage counting the take and celebrating yet another night of profitably scamming the rubes.
But I think I will vote anyway, in spite of the fact that it will make no difference. Here’s why. I am thinking of Kant and his Categorical Imperative which says, what you want to do (the imperative) is only right if it would be also right if everybody (the category) did it. I kinda think that means while me not voting is meaningless, but everyone not voting isn’t. And who knows, maybe someday an educated/intelligent un-buyable social liberal with enough street smarts to survive the lobbyists and politicians long enough to get some good done may run for office and need my vote. And I’d hate to be out of practice, then.