06 November 2006

i'd like to say that i'm

excited about casting my ballot tomorrow. that i'm hopeful for what may come of my exercising one of the most precious things this country has to offer. that after november 7th, 2006 - america will be on the way to bigger and brighter things and that a change will occur through the ballot box - i mean, ballot computing systems - that will have a chance at americaamerica that i was told that i had in grade school. i love that america.

so why do i feel so heavy? so heavy that if i don't get this out, here, that i may implode?

because i know that i'll be casting my ballot for candidates that aren't as bad as bush. they still won't be my ideal candidates - instead of voting for something that i want, i'll be voting out of fear. in the supposed free-est country in the world. go figure. instant-runoff voting would make me so happy tomorrow, but i don't have that option. i've thought about voting third party for the senate race, but i fear that i'll get in there and freeze up, and mark the democrat's box - simply because she is not a member of the "republican" party. it seems that all the d's have these days is, "hey! vote for me! i'm not bush!" frankly, i need a little more than that. but i have a zero chance of getting it this time 'round.

because i will forever question a voting method that takes my ballot, sucks it in, makes a few clicky noises, while the election rep assures me that the computer did indeed read it right and that my vote counts. as stalin said, "those who cast the votes decide nothing. those who count the decide everything." it bothers me that i can't even have a print-out with my choices to take with me - and that i'm supposed to trust machines, when my own machines mess up all the time. and it bothers me A LOT that these systems that 80% of the voting population uses have been hacked. it bothers me even more that people stand in line for hours to vote, and that many votes get thrown out for bogess reasons.

because the who's lyric keeps looping through my head, as it has been for months, "meet the new boss, same as the old boss." as much as i'd love to believe that somehow the d's will take control and actually reverse the shredding of the bill of rights, stop the erosion of our civil liberties, and put their collective liberal feet down - voting records of the d's in recent months scare me. they voted for this war. not to mention that they all take the same money for their campaigns from the same corporations. some get more, some get less. and for all the lip service they all give about caring about "the people" - i'm not seeing it with my own eyes.

i should just stay home tomorrow? not on your life. i remember the feeling i had after leaving the booth the first time i had cast my ballot. i had exercised my right to vote - for better or for worse. i felt alive - a part of it all. but i also know that being an active member in a democracy means more than casting a ballot - after tomorrow, my work will be far from finished. voting and flag waving will only do so much. there will always be work to do. always. that is the most impressive and hopeful thing about this experiment called american democracy.

to all the democrats i may vote for simply out of fear - if you win, i will be watching you. i will take you to task as well, if you continue on in the same vein as what we have today. to the republicans that i won't be voting for - good riddance. and to the third party candidates that i feel more of an affinity with always - if i freak out and not vote for you - i'm sorry. know that i want nothing more than to vote for you. but as it stands, i really don't feel like i have a choice. but i'm working on that.

and to you, my fellow ballot casters and those unsure and those who have given up- vote vote vote like the wind! we do matter. one last quote, written by the always phenomenal arundhati roy, "remember this: we be many and they be few. they need us more than we need them. another world is not only possible, she is on her way. on a quiet day, i can hear her breathing."

so we shall vote tomorrow. or today. or by absentee ballot. and then we will get right back at it. because we can. we must.

i think of this song on every election day eve, written by ani difranco. often it plays in my head as i vote, as the lyrics never fail to resonate in me - capturing my internal debate:

hello birmingham

hold me down
i am floating away
into the overcast skies
over my home town
on election day

what is it about birmingham?
what is it about buffalo?

did the hate filled want to build bunkers
in your beautiful red earth
they want to build them in our shiny white snow
and now i've drawn closed the curtains
in this little booth
where the truth has no place to stand
and i am feeling oh so powerless
in this stupid booth
with this useless little lever in my hand
and outside
my city is bracing
for the next killing thing
standing by the bridge
and praying for the next doctor martin luther king

it was just one shot
through the kitchen window
just one or two miles from here
if you fly like a crow

a bullet came to visit a doctor
in his one safe place

a bullet ensuring the right to life
whizzed past his kid and his wife
and knocked his glasses right off of his face

and the blood poured off the pulpit
yeah the blood poured down the picket lines
and the hatred was immediate, yeah
and the vengence was divine

so they went and stuffed god down the barrel of a gun
and after him they stuffed his only son

hello birmingham; it's buffalo
i heard you had some trouble down there again
just calling to let to know
that somebody understands

i was once escorted
through the doors
of a clinic
by a man
in a bulletproof vest
and no bombs
went off that day
so i am still here to say
i'm wishing you all of my best
oh birmingham
i'm wishing you all of my best
oh birmingham
i'm wishing you all of my best
on this election day

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