Wednesday, October 4, 2006
Vote as if it mattered
by Rebel Girl
by Red Emma
I ran into a colleague over at the salt mine the other day. She interrupted my rant on the latest assault on the Constitution long enough to piss me off even more. All politics is local, after all, and if you can be angry at Washington, D.C., then you can be angry at your neighbors. A nice enough person (I am really getting tired of nice people), she’s belonged to the union for as long as she’s taught at UCI, holds an advanced degree, reads and writes and speaks three languages, flosses regularly but confesses to me that she is so very confused by all the ads on television regarding the propositions.
“I am so very confused,” she said, as if we were characters on a BBC drama, which we are not, unless I get to be Helen Mirren’s boyfriend on Prime Suspect. But he doesn’t talk like that anyway.
“Well, those commercials are meant to confuse,” I said. “And why would you even watch them in the first place, you nice person who is really an idiot?"
Okay, I didn’t say that. Instead I wondered to myself how, really, anybody would ever decide how to vote (and then vote) if they actually did sit down and read that stupid summary from the State or watched the TV ads, with the little text at the bottom or the fast-talking man at the end.
Didn’t my nice colleague belong to a whole bunch of terrific organizations with paid analysts, lobbyists, communications pros who had posted all over the place, mailed, e-mailed, made phone calls, offering their members recommendations on how to vote so that they (we) wouldn’t have to watch television ads or listen to way too polite public radio hosts entertain arguments from property rights advocates and oil companies?
And didn’t I in fact know that she did because I am the local’s president and read the member roster, not to mention send those very emails? Well, yes. (And why was I talking to myself in this arch rhetorical style lately, huh?) So I reminded her politely that she was in a labor union (CFT) with political interests that were her interests and I pinned an Angelides for Guv button on her, then directed her to the CFT site where, like the scrolls of Nag Hammadi, any goatherd with a trowel can find the apocrypha we call the analysis that results from actual constituency representation, as opposed to the corporate ads on the tube paid for by evil assholes.
Further, I suggested to her maybe checking out the sites of other organizations people just like she and I belong to (Didn’t she? Why not?), including those of the Sierra Club and California Green Party. These are available for free and still with plenty of vitamin-rich extra-chocolaty habeas corpus (don’t get me started again) while it lasts.
Next installment: Red scolds you into voting for judges in Orange County. Good? Bad? Extra crispy? And: Let’s bet on the next Orange alert, okay? I say it’ll happen between midnight on October 24, Eid-al-Fitr to you Muslim dissenters and November 11, GOP-al-Scareya to the rest of us.
posted 7:06 PM