{ i voted 2000 }

Gimme a "V"!
Lance Arthur

I was an absentee voter this year, in more ways than one.

I feel absolutely powerless when it comes to the political process in this country. I know how things work – I've seen it happen. I've been lied to and had my trust betrayed more often than I wish to remember. I know it's all about money and it always will be. It's never about people no matter what line they try to sell you. And I do mean sell you.

But this year, I was urged to vote.

I never vote. Why should I? What does it matter? How does it affect anything one way or the other? I will continue to pay my taxes and have no voice in how it is being spent. I will continue using public services and wonder why the streets are in such bad repair, why the bridges are crumbling underfoot, why there are people living on the street, freezing to death every winter. I will watch drug prices skyrocket while the level of medical service continues to sink.

But I was told, "This year it's different! This year, it's important!" Because apparently, there's some huge difference between one candidate and another. One, apparently, will carry out all his promises and not be swayed by special interest groups. One, supposedly, will act according to his conscience for the good of the people, not the bottom line. He will work on my behalf, making this country a better place to live, a place to be proud of, where people aren't starving and living in shitholes, where everyone can get a job and make a decent living, where the streets are clean and the skies are, too.

Frankly, as I sat down with my absentee ballot (which I got because I'd be absentee from my state of residence, not because I'm too lazy to walk a couple of blocks to my polling place) I still doubted my own power to change or affect anything at all.

But it's so simple. To vote. Make a few marks, darken a few boxes, lick and seal and mail it off. Voting is so simple.

"And ineffectual," said that voice in my head. "The candidates don't care about you. The candidates only care when you give them a check!" I sat there in my apartment with the music playing on a sunny Sunday morning and I stared at the ballot days before the election and I voted.

And I felt no better at all. Powerless, ineffectual, impotent.

I think elections in this country are like sports events. You pick a team and rally behind them, bullying the people who supported the losers and feeling all smug and self-satisfied if you win. Once your team wins, you're done. You've won, too, and played your part.

Maybe that's another reason I usually don't care about this process. I don't like professional sports. I think it's a crock to rally behind some team of steroid abusing millionaires who couldn't care less about where they play and who roots for them – it's all about the paycheck.

And that's how I feel about politics. Substitute alcohol for steroids, substitute constituents for fans and what we have here is the quadrennial Super Bowl, Dems against the Reps, same as it ever was. And after the endless bitching and whining and name-calling has thankfully subsided, what are we left with?

I stuck the ballot in the mailbox on the corner of Hayes and Octavia and walked away.

I voted.


{ next }

{*} Lance Arthur has too much to do and can no longer think straight. He lives and votes in San Francisco, California, which does not have enough taxis.
{*} We Are the Ones
Rebecca Blood
{*} My Vote Doesn't Count
Sarah Bruner
{*} Close Encounters
Heather Champ
{*} A Message
John Hodgman
{*} The Score
David Hudson
{*} Learning the Process
Greg Knauss
{*} Dreaming of Greener Pastures
Dori Mondon
{*} Three Scenes
Derek M. Powazek
{*} Absentee
Magdalen Powers
{*} Acts of Faith and Finger Foods
Adam Rakunas
{*} Resident
Luke Seemann
{*} More Than One Vote
Tarin Towers
{*} The Poster Wars
Shauna Wright

Did you vote?