Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Why Kathleen Harris Belongs in Hell

NB: I recognize that yesterday's post, as well as today's, is a bit heavily political. Frankly, I'm thinking through some things as I prepare for the upcoming election. Please put up with these posts, if at all possible. If not, check out today's other post, in which I offer something a little bit lighter. I promise that I will soon be returning to the regularly-scheduled program.

As if I didn't already have enough proof of my geekiness, here's another little tidbit: I like to vote. No, scratch that. I love to vote. Oddly enough, I didn't vote until 2000, because that was the first election in which I felt that one of the candidates stood miles above the other. I felt like this election was a battle between good and evil (with a jester thrown in, if you count Ralph Nader). I wanted to be on the side of the angels.

By the time I got to the polling station, it was dark, and I wandered around, trying to find the entrance. I finally found an unlocked door around back. Lit by a single, unshaded lightbulb, it was completely deserted. As I slipped in, I imagined that I had joined the French underground. Voting felt dangerous, serious, meaningful. I was hooked.

The next year, I moved out to a more rural region. The polling station was in a church, and I was able to walk there. As I strolled down my street, past the brick houses and manicured lawns of my neighborhood, I felt like a productive member of my society. I felt moral, and useful, and decent. In short, I felt the exact same way that I used to feel when I was a little kid and I went to church.

When I discussed this feeling with my wife, she listed all the traditional criticisms of voting: my vote doesn't count, the candidates are all the same, nothing ever changes, and so forth. Still, when I talked her into voting with me, I think that she felt the same excitement that I did. Something important connected us to our country, our history, and our government. It was awe-inspiring and, in a way, religious.

I know that this all sounds excessive, and perhaps somewhat treacly, but before you reach for your insulin, let me finish. Given my deep appreciation for voting, I have a serious problem with anyone who interferes with the democratic process. For this reason, I hereby nominate Kathleen Harris for a hot seat in the eight circle of Hell, the spot reserved for false counselors. Her maneuvering against the hand-counting of ballots in Florida during the 2000 presidential election was, frankly, criminal. More to the point, it was a betrayal of her position as the Florida Secretary of State, the people of Florida, and the Democratic process.

Lest it seem like I'm only targeting Republicans on this, it's worth noting that Democrat lawyers in the same election attempted to discount absentee ballots, which would probably have benefitted Bush. It's also worth noting that gerrymandering (or "creative redistricting," if you prefer) knows no political boundaries. The same goes for the Electoral College, which might have been useful in the 1800's, but now is about as outdated as bundling, tallow-rendering, and blacksmithery. Frankly, with crap like this going on, it's no wonder that my wife questioned the value of her vote.

Ultimately, electoral reform is not a party issue or a candidate issue. It is a democracy issue. If we want to convince people of the value of their votes, then we need to make those votes valuable.

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  • don't you think, in this day and age and with our technology, we could totally get rid of voting districts? We could just have an online or atm like voting machine, available to everyone and every vote would count... if we must stick with the freaking electoral college then fine, but really why do we need it these days? It should be the majority rules, let the public's vote count and have no need for hand counting.

    of course there is hacking and your general computer issues, but seriously, could it be worse than what we have now? Let the banks encrypt it, god knows they have figured out how to protect their money better than the government protects information

    By Anonymous monkeylover, At October 31, 2006 at 9:36 PM  

  • I love to vote too. I love everything about it. Last prez. election was only the biggest election of my life. I love the stickers. I love that everyone in the church where I vote is elderly. I love being on the list. I love my registration card. All of it. For me, it's like the adult version of getting a new box of Crayolas.

    No, Crayola didn't pay me for that ad. I just love Crayolas.

    By Blogger mist1, At October 31, 2006 at 10:29 PM  

  • Monkeylover-
    Exactly! Honestly, how hard could it be for them to set the whole thing up online? I worry, though, that both parties are way too invested in a low voter turnout.

    Thanks for dropping in!

    I'm with you on the crayolas, but only if it's a brand-new box with sharp crayons. I'm a brick-red man, myself.

    By Blogger Crankster, At October 31, 2006 at 11:06 PM  

  • I bet you are jealous that you don't have the terminator on YOUR voting ticket!

    By Blogger Nihilistic, At November 1, 2006 at 12:18 AM  

  • Hear! Hear! I vote simply because I feel that if I don't, I don't have a right to complain. Isn't that sad? Oh how I long for a candidate to beleive in, a candidate with vision, a candidate to vote FOR as opposed to AGAINST.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 1, 2006 at 6:55 AM  

  • Nihilistic-
    I know! It's so damn unfair! The best Virginia can work up is a racist asshole who recently discovered he's Jewish (shades of Dave Chappelle show), and a socially-inept Vietnam vet. I wish we had somebody FUN!!

    Exactly. I wish we had a candidate who was deserving of our votes, or even of the act of voting. Voting should be meaningul, but these guys make it empty.

    By Blogger Crankster, At November 1, 2006 at 8:23 AM  

  • Election reform, eh? The Electoral College is fine

    How about we switch the House of Representatives over to a system like that of the German Bundestag where multiple parties actually have a chance in hell of having a voice?

    By Anonymous Fredwardly, At November 1, 2006 at 7:14 PM  

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