A few days ago I was talking to a friend of mine; we’ll call him Ted, about voting. He told me the last time he voted was 1992, back when Clinton was playing a saxophone, not an intern. Almost twelve years have passed since Teddy, born and raised in the United States, has bothered to vote.
I keep hearing more and more about how this election is important because so much is at stake. True, we are in the middle of a war, many people are out of work, and Old Europe still doesn’t like us that much (wink). Yet I fail to see how this election is any more important than others.
November 2, 2004 is no different than any other first Tuesday in November in the last five decades. It only seems that way because of our current circumstances, but it’s important to remember that we arrived here not singularly due to the outcome of the 2000 election but of the elections held eight, twelve, even twenty years ago.
What we vote for today affects us in the years and decades to come. Each election is never as simple as voting for a new guy every four years because their foreign and domestic policy decisions often times last longer than their time in office.
There are millions of people screaming up and down, mad as hell about Iraq — both in favor and against. Yet I dare say a good portion of those who oppose the war in Iraq did not bother to vote in 2000. And I bet that a good portion of those persons who are out of work also failed to participate in our last presidential election. My friend Ted is certainly among those in the first company of non-voters. And I’m sure you know at least one person who fits in one category or the other.
I’m not suggesting that if these non-voters had elected Al Gore four years ago we would all be living happier days, but I find it silly that these people, who have neglected their right to vote in the past now dare to tell me just how important democracy is.
Elections have always been important, it’s just too bad that it took hundreds-of-thousands of dead people and lost jobs for citizens like Ted to get it.