Are you feeling apathetic about the upcoming election? The candidates, their platforms, their tactics, the debates, the general process?
If you are not, my hat goes off to you (if I were wearing a hat). You are a better person than I am.
I hate to even write this, but I am feeling apathetic. In fact, I gave up on our political process years ago.
I am not the only one. It is a well-known fact that since 1968, voter turnout in general elections has declined by almost 10%. In presidential election years, 20% more voters actually show up and vote over the every-two year congressional elections. This means that 20% fewer of registered voters think enough about electing their congressional leaders to actually get out and vote. Check out the URL link to the chart.
There are many myths and perspectives on these numbers. It can be spun quite a few ways. I liked some of the points from the Cato Institute, even though their analysis is almost 10 years old. Here is another URL that you might find of interest if you want to investigate the issue further: http://www.fairvote.org/voter-turnout.
For me, I believe it started in or around the 2008 Presidential election. At that time, I considered myself a Republican. I was convinced that its platform and delivery represented what was best for me, my family, and the nation as a whole.
Was it perfect and complete? By no means. The Democrat platform covered issues that the Republicans turned their backs on, and vice-versa; these were issues that, in relation to my perspective at that time in my life, were important but not show-stoppers. Indeed, the fact that they were even wasting air time was a nuisance.
I used to do my homework, too.
- I listened to the news daily.
- I regularly read several blog sites and political websites.
- I kept up on the fine nuances of many of the issues.
- I knew and could debate the spin on those issues.
- I Googled.
- I nodded my head along with the Sunday morning ‘talking heads’ on shows like Fox News and Meet the Press.
- I could tell you the names of many of those ‘talking heads’.
- I yelled in outrage at the T.V. when anyone said something that I didn’t agree with.
- I voted in every general election, and most congressional elections. But, unless these coincided with a local election, I did not make an attempt to vote in the local elections.
Sometime during the run-up to the 2008 election, though, my resolve faltered. Everything I heard, even from my beloved Republican party, was a lie. The media spin was not only a lie, but confusing. I got to the point where I couldn’t recover from the spin, couldn’t wade through the lies fast enough to form a solid opinion. The right and wrong of the issues became blurred in my head.
I found myself following the party line, voting for the candidates because they were Republican. I was not cognizant anymore of what the issues were or how the candidates stood on those issues; I began making assumptions that sounded something like, “he’s Republican, so he must think and believe what I believe.”
I got lazy. And then I proceeded to vote blindly. No research, no knowledge, no opinion. Straight party ticket.
When things get blurry like that, I need to step back so I can get the big picture.
Fast forward to present time. Presidential election 2012.
Things are not as blurry as they were four years ago. The reason for this is because I am now completely convinced that they are all liars and spin doctors. The politicians, the media, the government. But the lying and the spin is equal opportunity, color blind. It sees no boundaries between Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal. It doesn’t recognize green, black, or off-white. Probably the only instance in our American society that is NOT truly color blind.
So why are we still pretending that we don’t see it? Why are we still getting wrapped up in debates that we know are fixed? Why do we feel so compelled to argue about issues that we know deep inside will not get resolved to our liking, nor even get solved for the good of the whole, even though our candidate of choice assures us from the podium that he is the one to do it? Why are we still convinced that the president is the only one who matters, when in reality Congress is more powerful? Why are we still believing that the popular vote can change anything at the presidential level when it really is the Electoral College that elects the president?
Because we are human and it is in our nature to be concerned?
Because we are good citizens and it is our civic duty to speak up? To vote?
Probably a combination of both, and more.
But, from here going forward I plan to change that. I realized that what has gone away in our so-called ‘democracy’ is ‘democracy’. We are not by and for the people; we are by and for the people who can swing the vote in a two-party boxing ring.
How does that get changed? I think it has to happen at the grassroots level.
Tune in later this week for Part 2 of Election 2012: My Spin….
© 2010-2012 Kimberly Bluth or Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss (Bluth).