Exercising Democracy

I Voted.I like exercising democracy. There’s something powerful about it, and rightfully so. I’ve voted in every election since I turned 18 (yep, all three of ’em), but tonight was the first time I actually went to the polls and voted. In past years I’ve voted by absentee ballot. This was also my first time voting as a resident of Minnesota–it will probably be my last.

I like the energy of going to the polls, the energy of being with all these other folks who want to flex their democratic might. I may be one vote in a million, but I am one vote in a million. My biggest regret was that I didn’t get an “I Voted” sticker. When you vote by absentee ballot you don’t get a sticker (though you do get a thin, stubby pencil), but I was hoping to cash in tonight. Alas, they must have run out or something, because I didn’t get a sticker. That’s my wife’s sticker. She voted earlier in the day when they were still handing out stickers. It’s really a form of bribery: if you vote, you get a sticker. But you’re really only cool if you go early in the morning so you can gloat all day long with your sticker: “Look at me! Look at me! I’m a responsible American.” Which really is something worth gloating about.

My only regret about voting at the polls is the lack of readiness. I had to do all my research ahead of time and come prepared with a little cheat sheet. Then, standing at the little booth, I had to match up my scrawled offices with the long, official names printed on the ballot, then try to fill in the appropriate circle. There was no second guessing, no chance to run back to the Web site and make sure I’m voting for the right person, no time to research the County Soil and Water Commissioner, who I didn’t have a chance to research (as if anybody has any information on that guy–I just wrote in Bono). That’s probably the biggest advantage to absentee ballot voting: you can vote in your underwear at 2:00 a.m. while sitting in front of your computer reading each candidate’s views. I guess next time I need to be a little more prepared for the onslaught of no-name judges I have the privilege of voting for. They may be running unopposed, but who knows if I’m voting for Satan-incarnate and I’d be better off writing in my cube buddy at work.

I had a hard time deciding who to vote for this year. I was one of those “undecided’s,” who figured out who I was voting for during afternoon break. (Note to politicians: any candidate who doesn’t have a simple, clear Web site outlining where they stand on the major issues is a moron. You didn’t get my vote because you’re living in the past, man.) I didn’t know who to vote for because I don’t like taking the typical Christian stance. You’ve heard this rant before, and I’ve seen it more and more often from others. I don’t vote on party lines. God’s not a Republican, he’s not a Democrat, he’s not a Green, and he’s not an Independent. He might be a Libertarian, but I kind of doubt that.

Every time I compare candidates I see losers all around. I see a great stance by Joe Schmo on abortion, but then he seems to value the lives of the rich over the poor. Apparently he’s willing to protect an unborn child’s right to life, but he’s not willing to protect a hungry child’s right to eat. Then there’s the other guy, Bob Somebody, who wants to feed those hungry kids, but then doesn’t see the need to protect the unborn children. I refuse to cast my vote based on one issue, siding with the evil minions who happen to help old ladies cross the street in addition to all their mayhem, simply because helping old ladies cross the street is good. The other guy’s not much better, he does good deeds throughout the week, but then for kicks on Friday nights likes to run over old ladies as they cross the street. You’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t.

Republican, Democrat, whatever. I’m just glad we can finally stop watching those irritating campaign commercials. I decided not to vote for one guy after he had his own daughter stumping for him in a commercial. How low is that?

So what did the politicians learn tonight? Have a good Web site and don’t put your children in your commercials. Thanks and good night.

PS – the new U2 came out today: The Best of 1990-2000. Mmm… U2.

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