Thursday, August 03, 2006

It Ain't Me

What in the hell is wrong with this country?

I know I say this about five times a month and I'm also aware it makes me sound like an octogenarian when I say it. But this place is completely fucked up. Aside from our fucked up social priorities, the fact that people hardly take vacations, the fact that we're out to only get the hottest newest thing, there's this new tidbit.

The state is considering a proposal to boost turnout during elections by awarding a $1 million prize to one randomly selected voter, just for casting a ballot.

"It gives them something to shoot for," said Rosie Coyote, 55, a process server from Phoenix. "It gives them motive. I think it's a good idea."

Here's an idea. How about we teach children (you know, those little things that look like us that we pump full of Ritalin so they'll sit in front of the Playstation?) that voting is a right that millions of people have died for in the relatively short history of this country? Black people got sprayed with fire hoses for the right to simply vote, even without a goddamn jackpot. We've had to pass legislation to keep elections fair, to eliminate poll taxes and literacy tests. One reason boys sign up for the military is to protect our right to democracy, and voting is an integral part of democracy. And don't even get me started on women who don't vote.

Also, voting isn't just about turnout. I'd rather have a relatively low voter turnout of people who are informed and voting their conscious even if I disagree with them than a bunch of people trying to commit voter fraud to get another chance at the $1 million voter lottery. As much as I hate the fanatical social conservatives, they know their stuff and are passionate about it, just like fanatical social liberals are. When it's all said and done, voting is the one time when we as ordinary schmos can turn out and have our voices be heard. It's the one time we have an actual say in what happens. Sure, I am not so idealistic to believe the system works completely fairly and that every vote is counted properly. But it shouldn't become a goddamn sweepstakes every two years.

Luckily, many Arizonians agree with me.

"Voting is a privilege of an American. That's the way it should be viewed, not as a bribe to get me to come do what I have the privilege to do," said Mammen, 33, a pastor in El Mirage.

David Garcia, 36, said the idea makes him uncomfortable: "The government encouraging democracy through a monetary reward I think starts to go down some slippery slopes. Just for some reason, mixing the two together doesn't sit well with me."

This place is fucked up. I want better for America. I love it here, but come on. Vote because it's a great honor to do so, not because you want a mansion in Tuscon.

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