© 2012 Matthew Lee Johnston

Voting booth confessional.

The internet social channels and actual people I encounter in my really-living-life-o-sphere is much abuzz these days about the importance of voting. It’s true! Voting is important. It is a right that many people have fought and died for. Others have fought and died and still can’t do it, the poor bastards. Not really for instance but kinda relevant anyway, I once had an old lady at the polling location tell me I couldn’t vote because I wasn’t registered. We worked it out, and I found my own name in the register she was trying to hide from me. Thank goodness because I almost got power-grumped out of the right to vote against a new baseball stadium project, that failed to get the majority of votes, but was rammed through anyway by the governor at the time. It’s a good thing because along with the majority of Seattle voters, I was wrong.

I would argue that our two party system really doesn’t allow us much of a choice, and that when it comes to local issues, the ballot is stuffed full of crap we really shouldn’t be allowed to vote on in the first place. On some level we should just be able to tell the Haterade guzzlers to shut the hell up and save the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on these elections. Why do I even have a say in whether or not a couple of ladies or dudes want to shack up, play video games, have small dogs, and…errr…visit each other in the hospital? Who am I to say that left handed people can’t smoke cigarettes? Why are we using scarce resources to decide on something that obviously is none of anyone’s guldarn business? It seems to me that we’ve managed to turn the cornerstone of our democracy into an indulgent waste of time and resources. We do this by deliberating on decisions we, if we are truly living in a “free” society, have absolutely no need or right to make for other people.

Even if we clean up the ballot and only vote on things that only make sense, it’s the electorate that is the real problem. Way too many people use the right to vote as an excuse to totally absolve themselves of any actual civic involvement whatsoever, for the entirety of their crappy worthless lives. They’re out there wearing their little “I voted!” stickers as if they single-handedly upended all-that-is-not-free, but for the next 2 years the vast majority of these pompous pollsters will go back to doing jack shitski.

There are so many more meaningful and important things you can do as a good little decider, and these opportunities exist right outside your door. If all you Votey Votersons are so intent on being involved and making a difference, then I will proactively provide you with a few ideas for actually doing something that really matters well beyond election day:

1. Go to a community meeting.

You think democracy is awesome? Try going to the next meeting for your local Parks Department development project. Nothing will make you wish for a brutal dictatorship like being trapped in an oxygen-free room in your local senior center and having to listen to some wackjob who begins every sentence with “I’m here to speak for the Earth.” These meetings are so excruciatingly dysfunctional in their democratized consensus-ness that even the people who really care don’t usually show up to them. This means that if you can survive being treated like a kindergartener by Parks Dept. staff, you can actually be one of the 5 people who get to decide how hundreds of thousands of dollars will get spent right there in your community. Always wanted to hang upside down from the belt strap of a giant cowgirl-shaped play structure? Me too. You can probably get that approved at one of these meetings, pardner. All you need to do is be there.

2. Volunteer for something.

Conservatives like to say they don’t like government giving handouts to people, so they want to vote for or against this or that. Well guess what?! If you actually got your hanging chad down to the homeless shelter and started helping out, that would mean less gubment cheese would be required to provide those services. See what I did there?! The government wouldn’t have to use your taxes to do the work you refuse to do, if you just rolled up your sleeves and did it yourself. Either get busy, or get out of the way. And while you’re at it, adopt some unwanted babies for Christ’s sake (seriously…do it for Jesus).

3. Run for office.

If you believe so much in Democracy there Pedro, why don’t you pull up those bootstraps and jump facefirst into the local race for County Assessor, Commissioner of Public Lands,…or even better…Elections Director! You think your job sucks? Try being an elected official. I’ve spent a lot of time with my City Council representatives and I’ve seen them drink beer, heard them use profanities, and even felt the throes of their loneliness. They’re just like you! Except for one thing…instead of merely voting and calling that “civic duty”, they ran a successful campaign, got voted into office, and get to listen to people complain incessantly all day long!

I hope that your guy wins tonight. I hope you can get married to whoever you want, and smoke your Durban Ganja Dwarf Kush, because it helps with your intense chronic eye boogers. I hope that you don’t know a single person who simply chose not to vote or were too lazy. But in case you do, don’t feel bad. Maybe…just maybe…not voting is really the ultimate expression of freedom. It’s like when Dolemite said he was “so bad I kick my own ass twice a day” except its, “I’m so free, I choose not to be, especially on Tuesdays.”

One Comment

  1. Posted November 6, 2012 at 9:26 am | #

    oh great. NOW you post this. Where were you in August when I was deciding not to play ball this season? There is still hope for a punishing dictatorship, but we’re going to have to work fast…