Dreaming of Greener Pastures
Eight years ago I stood in line in a smelly high school gymnasium, a newly instated 18 year-old voter in a middle class Atlanta suburb where most people were voting for family values.
I voted for Clinton.
I didn't know about things like the Green Party, or about why you'd want to vote for someone who wouldn't win the election anyway. I hated where I lived, and I hated the people I was surrounded by, and they were all voting for Bush.
So I voted for Clinton.
I don't even remember the next election. All I remember is that Clinton was back in office and I was far too busy learning to navigate the subway system to really care.
I was apathetic, it's true. I remember, vaguely, stumbling home from something and asking my neighbor on the stairs, 'so who won?' that November night.
But then Monica Lewinsky's lips became synonymous with the presidency, Jesse Ventura was elected as governor of Minnesota, the WTO protests were front page news and now you can't avoid politics even if you try. Just the other night, after I happily, drunkenly, entered a bathroom stall in a crowded club, I looked up as I squatted to face a 'vote Nader' sticker stuck to the back of the door. And no matter how far away I get from the urban landscape, inevitably I seem to run into a guy with longish hair and a vote Nader t-shirt on.
And there's votenader.org, nadertrader.org, bushsmush.org , gorewhore.org (oh, okay, well, maybe not, but you get the idea) and basic all-out wars being fought via my DSL line over whether I'm gonna throw out my vote or not.
But I was in Mexico this summer when they succeeded in a monumental, world-news-sized change of hands. And I keep thinking about Jesse Ventura, pro wrestler, and now governor of Minnesota, and the sheer fact that he's actually in office gives me hope. Yes, Jesse Ventura gives me hope.
Which is why I'm probably going to write-in for my cat. If a pro wrestler can make it into office, so can my cat, who is the feline personification of Buddha he's happy and fat, and I know I always feel better after I rub his belly. I think other people would agree that that's the sort of thing we really need for this country. But in the event they don't let me do that I'm going to do something daring, and I'm going to vote for a guy who is obviously not going to win the election anyway.
Of course I'm nervous. I feel optimistic, but what if this doesn't work? If my efforts fail I'm going to have a hard time staying away from another apathy relapse.
But I'm still going to do it. Throwing my vote away on Nader seems, to me, to be the best way I can make my voice heard. That's why we vote anyway, right?