Today was primary day in Maryland, where we live. The Girlygirl and I bustled on over to the polling place (doesn't that sound like what you'd call it if you couldn't remember what it was, instead of it's actual name?) to do our duty, and to cast our first protest votes ever*.
*Even though he's left the race now, we're voting for Dean. Sure, he can't really win, but he's the candidate we wanted, and we wanted him because of his views. This is our chance to state, when it really counts, that we wanted something other than the tepid, corporation-owned weasels the Democratic Party is now almost certain to nominate. When the chips are down, I'm voting against Bush, but I need to show folks that I really did want to vote for someone this time around, however unpopular, even if I don't get the chance to do that in the general election.
Every year I have a moment of trepidation on leaving the house--will it be crowded at the, umm, whaddya call it, that polling place (see what I mean?)? My feet are total wrecks most of the time (if they were cartoon feet, they'd likely look like exploding cigars), so I always dread having to stand around, especially when there's no rock show, or at least beer. This year, as every other year, and at pretty much any time of the day, the place was practically deserted, so no worries about waiting in line.
For the most part, I enjoy this lack of crowding--I'm a self-guilter in many instances, so it relieves me greatly not to have to feel I'm holding things up by doing such crazy things as taking my time reading the names and such--but on the way home, I had a sobering thought. I know that we live in an area that's strongly Democratic. I also know that Democrats have a nasty habit of staying home in droves when it's time to vote. All the parties are subject to this poor turnout (shameful, I say), but Republicans have a slight margin in getting out of the house and into the polls. What if the reason that my polling place is never crowded is because none of my neigbors can be fucked to get off their asses and down to the polls? That would totally suck, especially since Girlygirl was even violating doctor's orders by going down there**. We did see at least one neighbor down there voting, and each year I see someone I know there, but that's all the more scary--are the only people voting the people we know? There are a lot more folks in our district than that (though we do have a pretty large number of friends within about 10 blocks of the polling place).
** The round trip is farther than she's supposed to be walking yet after her back surgery, and she's not supposed to ride in a car. In a brilliant strategy of breaking the most rules the least amount, I drove her down there and she walked back. Not perfect, but no way was she gonna miss her chance to vote.
I know there's not many people listening, but if you are, get the hell out there and vote! Even if you have to stand in line! You'll get a cool oval sticker with "I voted" in English and
Spanish if you live in my area. It's about the only time I voluntarily sport an American flag on my person, and I wear it all day. Just remember--if you feel bad about not voting, just go do it--there aren't many easier ways to make yourself feel better about yourself and your country/state. It's easy. They want
you to come do it. They'll HELP
you figure out what to do, and if you don't feel qualified to judge, or don't have enough information to make an informed decision, keep in mind that there are lots of people out there who are working really hard
to make their choices, and still making bad ones. You can do at least that well just randomly poking buttons, and maybe you'll get lucky and cancel out some of the knuckleheads.