Nov 04 2008

Did You Remember to Waste Your Vote Today?

Voting is so discouraging.  People talk about how voting gives them a sense of satisfaction, a feeling of doing their duty and national unity.  I don’t get that at all.  If anything, I feel a sense of futility, as in, “What are the odds that made any difference?”  We don’t even get to do anything as substantial as punching chads; just fill in ovals and feed it into a machine, which told me this morning that my vote was worth just as much as 516 before me and who knows how many to come after. Whee.  At least that’s better odds than a lottery ticket.  And how many fraudulent votes will be cast?  Certainly more than enough to outnumber little ol’ me.

I suppose it’s partly because I don’t think I’ve ever voted in a close election.  This time was worse than usual.  For president, Illinois has been a lost cause for twenty years now.  Likewise with our senatorial race: even though Durbin is the epitome of a corrupt lifetime politician and has evolved into sort of a blathering, partisan mud-thrower during the Bush years, he has the seniority to bring lots of pork to the state, so his challengers are just going through the motions.

With the rest of the races, no one even put up token resistance, leaving the incumbents unopposed.  With economic chaos in the quasi-governmental investment industries, gas prices jumping all over the place, and Congress’s approval rating in the toilet, you’d think incumbents might be in trouble.  Not where I live; here no one even runs against them.

Then there were a bunch of judge affirmations, where as long as the judge doesn’t get a certain percentage of nay votes, he keeps the job.  I voted yea for the judge whose jury I served on, since he seemed to do a good job, but I didn’t have any reason to vote to throw the others out except cussedness.

The only enjoyable part was the referendum votes: I got to vote against a state constitutional convention (yeah, letting all the special interest groups in the state get together and remake the constitution in their own image sounds like a wonderful idea) and yet another property tax increase for the schools.  We should be getting kids out of those institutions and cutting their funding accordingly, not feeding the beast.

That was small payoff, though, for walking eight blocks.  At least there were no lines, so it went quickly.  I’m always slightly amused when I walk in and see three identical-looking elderly ladies behind the desk, and try to guess which ones are the Democrats and which are Republicans.  They have to be split as evenly as possible, and I always wonder if there’s any gamesmanship between them, and how much they keep an eye on each other to prevent cheating.  When the lady handed me my ballot and told me to make sure I filled in the ovals completely, she was pointing at the Nader oval, so maybe she’s a big Green Party supporter?  These are the things that go through my mind when I’m bored.

Oh well, it’s better than most of the alternatives, although constitutional monarchy has things to recommend it.  Whoever wins today (and I suspect it’s closer than the pollsters keep saying) it won’t be anything to celebrate, but we’ll probably survive them despite ourselves.

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