Help Me! I’m Buried Under Politics »« Hangover Discurso

An Open Letter to Politically Disinterested Americans

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.

Comments

  1. says

    “You can tell them to stop lying to you.”And you can stop lying to us.”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.”He was referring to Obama’s campaign which is long on pleasing platitudes and very short on specifics. Hopechange, hopechange, misogynistic attacks against Hillary Clinton, and Sarah Palin, hopechange, hopechange ad infinitum ad nauseum. I had to go to his web site to see what his intentions are, and quite frankly, they scare hell out of me.”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.”Unless you voted for Hillary, then your vote didn’t count. I watched that rigged, fraudulant roll call during the Democratic convention; I watched an authentic one during the Republican convention. Unless you are one of those bitter, gun totin’, Bible thumpin’, religion clingin’ hicks from flyover territory. We heard that straight from The Man himself during a fund raiser held in a mansion along San Francisco’s Billionaire’s Row last April.Then they don’t care about you at all.”So take care of yourself. Tell the Republicons to stop playing you for a fool. Go vote.”I intend to do just that. I will vote and tell the Demo-Rats to stop playing me for a fool.Oh, and Sen. Obama, you can keep the change.

  2. says

    I watched that rigged, fraudulant roll call during the Democratic convention; I watched an authentic one during the Republican convention.Yes, and how did you determine the difference, using a multimeter? Or did you just check your pulse?Anyone who can write nonsense like that sentence doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously. Both votes were determined long before the conventions happened. They were both “rigged”, because in the end they were both determined at least as much by the party’s leaders as they were by the people in the parties.Who do you think owns the TV news corporations that fawn over McCain?Obama is short on specifics, true, but he’s way ahead of McCain. That’s probably a good thing, because every time McCain gets specific he embarasses himself. How many more years should we stay in Iraq, Senator, one hundred, or one and a half? He had to reverse his position twice in one week to match Obama’s on foreign policy. This is supposed to be his strength, but he seems to be playing catchup with the guy who doesn’t have any “experience”.

  3. says

    As I was going to say before X-zero showed up, the only vote that doesn’t count is the one you don’t cast. I get so tired of people lamenting how politicians are all the same, which inevitably means that they are all corrupt and uninterested in their country.The great thing about telling yourself that is that it relieves you of all responsibility to do any of the research and thinking required to find the politicians who will vote in your best interests. And that’s just what the corrupt ones want!. They want you to have low expectations, so they have nothing more to live up to.That’s what that vote is for. There are all sorts of ways to find out what your legislators and executives have been up to on the issues you care about. There are special interest groups that rate politicians on particular issues. There are blogs and publications that cover those things, too.So, if you don’t like what is going on in your country, you have some power to change it. If you continue to do nothing, don’t complain to me. I’ve already said I’m not interested in your complaints, and I meant it.P.S. Good essay, Dana.