#175 In which our hero exercises his right to have a say in the outcome of our elected leaders -- in theory, at least.
I voted yesterday. This is the first time in my life that I’ve voted in a mid-term election, even though I’ve voted in every presidential election since I turned 18. The mid-terms always seems so… blah. Councilman, Congressman, Senator, School Board… none of them really appeared to affect me directly, so I just couldn’t be bothered. Maybe I’m a little bit wiser now and see that our Congress and Senate members do make a difference, and a big one if they happen to be in the party of the majority. And that’s what was really on the line, who gets to call the shots. And I’ll be the first to admit that it’s fairly shitty that I voted for the party and not the people… frankly, I don’t know if Brown will make a better Senator than DeWine or if Strickland will make a better Governor than Blackwell.
Honestly, I think our political system is a bit screwded. I mean, the #1 job of any elected official is keeping his or her job. I think about it this way… if I knew that I was going to have to defend my right to keep doing my job in, say, two years, you can be sure that reality would always be in the back of my head. After a while, just doing good work wouldn’t be enough, I’d try to spin my work to make the maximum number of people happy. No, that’s not even true, I wouldn’t care about most people, only those who get a say if I kept my job or not.
If I felt really strongly about a concept that was objectionable to lot of those people -- even if it was the right thing to do -- I’d seriously have to consider my position. Do the right thing and lose my job (and lose the ability to ever potentially do good work again) or hedge and keep my job? So you have a bunch of elected officials dealing with this every day… and it’s not just a handful of people who get to say if they are out of work or not, it’s hundreds of thousands across the entire state. Ideally, these elected officials would just do their job and not worry about re-election until their last year. But that’s just not possible, is it? There are fundraisers all the time, photo ops, speaking engagements… and during every one of these (from day one in office to (re)election day) the official has to be thinking, “How I perform today will have an affect on if I get to keep my job or not.”
I guess that’s the price to pay for American politics, and if you can’t deal with it, the gig isn’t for you. Clearly it’s not for me. Then again, given my often-laid off history, it would be a luxury to know that my job was guaranteed for a certain number of years.
The Scientist and I both had to vote on provisional ballots yesterday, her because her name had mysteriously fallen off the rolls, and me because they still had the old address. This is completely our fault, of course; the thought crossed my mind that we should confirm our status before voting day, but I never did. Rest assured that we will before 2008.
I have no faith that our votes will actually be counted. Given the numerous and pervasive voting issues in northeast Ohio, I wouldn’t be surprised if our ballots are sitting in a wet box somewhere, uncounted.
But, the results came out pretty much the way we wanted anyway, so I’m not too fired up about it. It’s nice to wake up and not feel so much like a stranger in my own state. After Bush was re-elected in 2004, I really felt like a stranger in a strange land. The majority of my neighbors didn’t think like I did… matter of fact, many of them were diametrically opposed to my way of thinking. I longingly looked at “blue states” like California and thought, huh, maybe that’s where we should be raising our children.
So while it’s nice to be in the majority, I can’t help be being still pissed at Ohio. I mean, everything that people are so fired up about today existed two years ago… the war in Iraq, the obvious lies and deceptions generated by the White House to get us in that war, Republican misdeeds, the economy… nothings changed, it’s only gotten worse. Ohio (and the country at large) had the opportunity to make a change THEN, but they dropped the ball. It’s cold comfort to say, “Y’know what? I fucking told you this would happen two years ago!”
Now we’ll see if anything really changes. I’m not that hopeful. Even if the Democrats take control of the Senate (VA and MT are still tabulating as I write this) I don’t hold my breath for sweeping changes. The pendulum may have swung in the opposite direction, but it’s still following the same track.
Wow… that all ended up much more political ranty than I intended. Back to cute little girls’ farting stories tomorrow.