Don’t vote? Don’t bitch

Maybe it’s because we live in one of the richest, most stable countries in the world, but there appears to be a passive-aggressive apathy when it comes to the political system amongst our neighbors and fellow citizens.

As you know (or do now if you’re just discovering this blog), my books take place (mostly) in Northwest Wisconsin, land of the cheese, and home of the brave-when-nobody’s watching. We just had a recall election for our governor. He apparently pissed off a bunch of people, some with good reason, though others might disagree (notice my precarious fence balancing). As a result, he was forced to defend his governorship in a perfectly legal checks and balances process called a recall election.

After all the hoopla, visa vi: the signature collecting (over half a million by the way); primaries, complete with “protest candidates”; superpak-backed political TV ads that made everyone either pause their DVR, change the channel, or get up to pee; the thousands of poor trees that had to die for the slick card stock flyers that clogged everyone’s mailbox for no apparent reason beyond sheer stubbornness (which is natural here); and all the silly recorded phone calls, cherry-picking issues to get people to vote for their guy; the vote was yesterday.

The governor won. Some will feel vindicated. Some will feel cheated. Both are perfectly acceptable…if you took part in the process. If you didn’t, too bad. What’s done is done.

When I was a young pup long ago and far away, I worked for a media outlet. The head guy there asked me if I had voted in that particular election. I said no, I had worked two different jobs that day, and I wouldn’t have time to get to the polls by 8pm. He gave me an hour off with pay. I said, “Why? It sounds like my side’s probably not gonna win anyway.”

“Well, if you don’t vote, you can’t bitch. So vote.”

So I did, and they lost. “And I’m really pissed about it,” I told him the next day.

“Good!” He said and walked away.

It’s fine to get pissed about the political process. It’s important to exercise your right to vote in this country. It’s a privilege that we take very severely for granted. The tides of change come to us all whether we want it to or not, and it’s up to us whether we choose to swim with the tide or work against it. Sitting on the shore and being a spectator doesn’t change anything. Sitting out and bitching about it anyway just makes you a hypocrite and an ass.

Don’t be an ass. Vote or shut up about it.


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