Thursday, October 28, 2004

Today's only post: a question [Still the question for Friday!]
I have a serious question, and would love for everyone who reads this to answer (leave the name blank, or make up one if you would prefer to stay anonymous).

People say this is the most important election of our lives. I agree. And it is consuming a good bit of mine. I thirst for polls, and especially news that Kerry has a chance to win. I worry. I'm anxious. I have feelings of dread over the prospect of another Bush term. And it occurs to me... those are pretty serious feelings. I don't think I'm alone, judging from the concern I hear and read about. Most weekends, this election has prompted me to do things I not only never do, but hate doing--waking up early on Saturdays, initiating awkward conversation with strangers on their doorstep or over the phone. Everything about that is contrary to my personality.

When I was in college, I just knew that my vote for President could and would change the world. Now, we've had Presidents I hated and Presidents I loved (well, one), and many of the same challenges and injustices face us that did when I first started voting. There are too many poor people. There are too many people with no health insurance. There is too much hunger in the world. There is too much greed. Too many nations, including our own, still execute its criminals. Too many nations subjugate women to horrible oppression, and those that don't still embrace a culture and economy that brazenly exploits them as objects of sexual desire (or worse). We still pollute the air and contribute to global warming more than we contribute to its solution. Being black, or brown, still poses far more obstacles--and more cruelty--than being white. And none of those things began with George W. Bush.

Will a new President really matter? Shouldn't we worry more, and work harder, for a city council election, or a school board race? Don't those have more direct impact on lives in our community? If so, why don't we? Maybe you do.

Is Presidential politics so much a spectator sport now, thanks to 24-hour news or whatever, that we care and root for basically the same reasons that we cheer for the Red Sox to win? A superficial, ultimately meaningless (sorry Kenny) way to fill out our personal identities, a purposeful distraction from really addressing our own lives? A chance to jeer (inside) at the other side?

I know you can list the standard policy reasons why a different President will make a difference, and those may be the reasons why you're on one side and not the other. But is that really why we care? Has the desire to win separated itself from those reasons?

So, my question to you (and Article 19 will consider all attempts to deflect with sarcasm as evidence of a character flaw. We should know - we invented that technique.) is this: assuming you care more about the outcome of this election than previous ones, why do you think that is? Why do you care so much about what happens on Tuesday?

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