Monday, November 05, 2012

Elections, and my fear of them.

Elections are another one of those terrible things that make me feel ill-equipped to be an adult. After recently discussing how adolescent I still feel most of the time, a surprising number of people chimed in to tell me that they too still feel very young in some respects. Some of those people are middle-aged.

It’s all perspective.

So here I am, fumbling my way  through my second presidential election. I feel ill-equipped because

  • I don’t know how to/can’t find reliable information on what the candidates stand for. Even their own websites are impossible to navigate, and the content there is mostly fluff. Honestly, I’ve been using wikipedia just to look up their personal histories and history of votes. I’m pretty comfortable with this method, but I wish there was a standard for this kind of information, or some kind of questionnaire that has to be filled out that doesn’t allow for us much wishy-washiness.
  • I didn’t even know that I have to vote for my state senator on election day this year (I guess it’s not every year? I’m rusty on that whole procedure). Two choices doesn’t feel like enough (though I feel the same way about the presidential candidates).
  • I didn’t know until last Friday night, when approached by a man at 8PM on a residential street while walking to the movie theater, that we also need to vote for House Representatives. Now I need to go brush up on what on Earth those are, and who is running. Why are there 3 candidates here?
  • I have no idea what will be the best way to watch the results come in, and roughly what time the outcome will be determined by.

Pretty much all of this stuff is not taught in schools, or at least not in mine. I think these are the kinds of things that society expects parents to teach their kids. I remember going with my parents to the town hall when I was very little to watch them punch holes in cardstock. I think I got to pull off the tags that stayed behind, and years later, thought about the stuck tags in Florida messing up the process. It’s mostly retirees down there, right? I guess they didn’t have their grandkids with them to clean up their ballot paper. It was fun to be part of the process, even if I didn’t understand the national (global, really) impact of those slips of wood pulp and ink. Now I am participating in elections and having a say and it feels so huge. Nobody told me how important this would feel! Because it is!

I was really saddened, recently, to read about a number of people who are completely eligible, and yet do not vote. They say their vote really doesn’t matter, they don’t want to support a corrupt system, that the lesser of two evils is still evil etc. I just cannot wrap my head around why you would not take any opportunity to have your say. Sure, I agree, we could use some changes. I don’t like the bipartisan system. I don’t like that the popular vote does not ultimately determine the presidency, but I am willing to work with what we have until I can come up with a better way to effect change.

Please vote tomorrow, if you can. Utilize your rights as a citizen.

I have never felt more scared for my future. I have actually found myself seriously wondering about the logistics of moving to Canada.

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