Listen up for a minute, because this is important. Hang up the cell phone. Turn off American Idol. Click away from the latest celebrity meltdown. Let’s have a little chat.
I get you. I used to be you. I called myself an Independent, but I really belonged to the Apathy Party. I didn’t follow politics because it just seemed to be a big fucking charade. Both parties disgusted me. The political infighting seemed like much ado about nothing. I didn’t give a rat’s ass about which ass got planted in the Oval Office chair because they all struck me as grandiose assclowns who placed party before country. And who was I to change that? One little peon who couldn’t bother to be politically informed enough to make a serious choice for President.
When people shoved voter registration forms in my face, I told them to bugger off. I wasn’t going to be responsible for the next bastard in office.
I had better things to do than cast a vote that wouldn’t matter anyway.
And people who told me that it was my responsibility, as a citizen in a democracy, to keep myself informed and to pull that lever, those people pissed me off.
So I’m not going to lecture you. I’m not going to tell you that a government of the people, for the people, and by the people fails miserably when the people fail to show up. You already know that. You’re sick of hearing it, and I don’t blame you.
But I am going to tell you something you won’t want to hear: you’re being played for a fool.
You’re sitting there bitching and moaning about the state of your bank account, and the fact that you hate the war in Iraq, can’t afford health care, your wallet sobs every time it’s hauled to the gas station, and your mortgage is murdering you. And yet, you’re not doing a damned thing about it, because you believe that nothing you do politically is going to make an iota of difference. Neither party has the answer to your woes. They’re all lying crooks. Your vote won’t do a fucking thing to get you out of the mess you’re in.
That’s the lie you’ve been led to believe.
You see, the worst possible thing for corporations and power brokers and all of those people up there at the top is for little old you to become politically engaged. So they’ve spent decades making you believe you can’t make a difference. They’re telling you that because you can, and they’re shit-scared of you.
You see, there’s a lot more of us than there is of them. And if all of us get out there and vote for the politicians who, while not perfect, aren’t completely in their pocket, then they’re going to take a hit.
Things are bad, but you can make them better.
You can vote policy rather than personality.
You can tell them to stop lying to you.
If you don’t have the time or the inclination to educate yourself thoroughly on the issues, just remember this: only one campaign said “This election isn’t about issues.”
McCain’s campaign said that.
There’s only one reason they’d say something like that: it’s because they’re wrong on all of the issues that matter to you.
It’s because if you look at the issues, they fail you. So they don’t want you to look at the issues. They want you to look at a war hero and a pretty face and decide the election on that. Or stay home. They know that if you look at the issues, you won’t vote for them.
That’s really all you need to know. You’re now informed enough to make a good choice at the ballot box.
Registration is easy. There are people all over the place trying to shove those forms in your face: grab one, mark it Independent if you don’t feel yourself drawn to one party over another, and let the voter registration folks take care of the rest.
Then you take a few moments out of your life on Election Day to vote for the party that isn’t afraid to seriously discuss the issues. That’s the Democratic Party. You may not be a Democrat. You may not even like them. But your bank account and your wallet and your common sense are telling you one thing: none of them can stand another four years of Republicon fuckery. In this country, that leaves you with only one viable alternative.
None of this is hard. I thought it would be, when I first registered and voted. But it was simple. And then I had a stake in the outcome. I got the thrill of looking at the vote totals and saying, “Oh, hey. One of those is mine.”
One person can’t do much to influence things. But a lot of us can. That’s why I’m saying to you: quit the Party of Apathy. Get just this tiny bit involved. Do it for yourself and your wallet. Do it for your health. Do it for your house. Do it for the country and the planet and the future, if you want to go all out. But you don’t have to become a political activist just to cast a vote. You don’t have to be some enlightened, altruistic entity with a great big social conscience. You just have to look out for yourself and your family. And, unless you’re in that top 1%, looking out for yourself and your family means running screaming from the Republicons into the waiting arms of the Democrats.
Take it from someone from a small town, raised in a conservative family, and until recently right of center and fiercely Independent: the Democrats care a fuck of a lot more about you. They’re not perfect. No one is. But you truly do matter to them as more than a means to their own power. You matter to them as you.
So take care of yourself. Tell the Republicons to stop playing you for a fool. Go vote.
Then you can go back to enjoying your own life.