Reading today’s pre-election day stories, I get so discouraged that I wonder if I wasted my time voting. The polls predict a Republican sweep, and the pundits attribute it in large part to massive last-minute spending on attack ads by Republican supporters.
Didn’t I know that money talks? Didn’t I know that people are susceptible to political ads, especially ads that smear a candidate?
I suppose I knew it but refused to accept it. I’ve been in denial.
I wanted to believe that ordinary men and women can be trusted to determine their political future. I wanted to believe in the “wisdom of the people.”
Yet, if the media are to be believed, it looks as if “the ordinary man and woman” are going to let me down. It looks as if they are going to put their lives in the hands of the worst collection of scalawags imaginable.
And they’re doing this in the face of overwhelming evidence that they will be voting for child hunger, bigotry, oppression of women and minorities, racism, religious quackery, income inequality, political cheating – all of the evils that afflict a society.
Surely, they must know by now that they’re voting against their own interests?
Apparently not. Apparently they believe what the TV hucksters tell them. Why should I bother to vote in such an environment? Why not admit defeat as so many have?
And yet, there is evidence that voting matters. I read an article in Salon.com this morning that insists my vote could “change America for the better.”
The article meticulously examines the effect of voter turnout on government, and concludes that higher turnout leads to more humane policies.
The writer explains that, historically, America’s rich are far more likely to vote than the poor.
And it seems to me that the acceptance of defeat is more to blame for the poor’s low turnout than lack of awareness. The oppressed know they’re being oppressed but feel it’s no use fighting the powers that be because the battle is already lost.
Those doom-and-gloom predictions add to this perception. It’s a trap that could easily rob you and me of our political franchise.
So don’t let the Jeremiahs discourage you. If you haven’t voted already, vote. It matters.