Tuesday, November 6, 2012

We Voted Today

I voted today. I don’t know if “empowered” really describes how I feel.

I do know that I am very grateful to everyone who enables all Americans to have and keep their voice in government, from the revolutionaries to the suffragettes to today’s men and women in the armed forces to the volunteers at the polls.

I do know that I need to participate in the process; that’s doing my part to maintain our voice in our government.

I do know that I want my kids to be able to say, “Of course my parents voted.”

All the same, I’m really getting tired of “lesser of two evils” choices, politically speaking.

I feel like most politicians have never done anything real in their lives; their skill sets revolve around being elected. The Homecoming court at my high school had that skill set. You know?

I’d like a few of them to do all that stuff Lloyd Dobler scorned—sell something (other than themselves), buy something, process something. I’d like to see some kickboxers out there running, for that matter. Or soldiers, artists, doctors, chemists, restaurateurs...

Citizen legislators. Look it up.

Of course, there’s a HUGE drawback to that. In order for citizen legislators to be effective, the government has to be organized, efficient, intuitive, geared to provide the necessary services in the simplest, most cost-effective way possible. It has to be run well, so that, say, an experienced businessperson could step in and learn the ropes quickly.

Wait, did I say that was a drawback?

Sure, I’d be sad to see the endless paper-producing, red tape-creating, money-eating bureaucracy go, but I guess I could live with a streamlined, effective government.

Especially if it means that when my children vote someday, they don’t have to think, “Well, this one’s not quite as bad.” I would put up with a lot if it meant my children could say, “Wow. I voted for someone with integrity and common sense and a plan; someone who takes a long view and truly looks after the constituents’ interests.”

As it is, both kids voted at school today. Here’s our conversation in the car:

S.: We voted today.
Me: Oh, yeah? Who’d you vote for?
S.: I don’t want to tell you.
Little A.: I voted for the one that starts with an M. I Xed out the other one.
Me: Why’s that?
S. (whining): I don’t wanna tell you!
Me: You don’t have to tell me. I’m asking Little A. Why’d you pick that guy, buddy?
Little A.: The teacher said we could pick one guy and circle it.
Me: But you must have picked the M one for a reason.
S. (drowning out…everything): So, the way we had to vote was REALLY weird. The class—our class went into the auditorium? And they had this list—a list of all our names. And we had to SIGN our names next to, um, the names—our names. On the list? And then we got this number and we had to take it to the computer and put it in the computer and hit enter—after the number. Then, then the screen came up? And we had to click on one, then scroll down. And then we had to pick one person for, um, for Senate? But the good thing was we finished voting early and got extra recess.”

I think we’ll have to teach them to be responsible, thinking voters NEXT time.

And why does my third grader get computer voting when I’m stuck with a scantron ballot?

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