Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Vote if you dare

Hypothetically, if you were to ask me how I feel about voting this picture represents my feelings exactly. And this is why: I'm about 1/2 as cute as this baby and feel just as clueless about the issues we're asked to vote on. That briefcase hanging above my head could likely contain the very information neither you nor I can manage to get our hands on...But, like the smile suggests, I am cautiously optimistic about our so-called democratic process.

Yes, I can read, analyze documents, ponder my way through issues with a bit of logic, and consider myself somewhat intelligent...but let's face it, I am doubtful that the information made available to the average American is truly an accurate representation of whatever such proposal is being made as well as its implications. And if you try to research something for yourself? Ah, it gets even more muddled and strange. Not to mention all those ridiculous ads that quite likely invade your subconscious before you even have a chance to examine the issue for yourself. When most of the media is corporately owned, and probably the least biased thing you can possibly base your vote on is read through the original proposal (and how many of those tedious "Be it resolved, by the house and senate, blah dee dah" do most folks actually take the time to read through for themselves?) what's a cautiously democratic optimist to do?
This year I voted on issues and only issues. City elected offices are important too, but I just didn't make the time to examine any candidate. I can't justify voting for someone based on purely reading their statements published in the voter's guidebook. So last nite I sat at my computer and read through the online text of ballot measures... long and tedious from Initiative 960 to SHJR 4215....I trudged through the full text and position statements. Did a wee bit of research on a few issues which was minimally helpful at best. And I dutifully filled out my preferred little bubbles and signed, and mailed it away...and thus completed the voting process.

But despite that, I am left feeling still as if I participated in the fabled democratic process while being a naive (and maybe a little drooly, you know from falling asleep while reading through the legal-speak documents) participant.

So I just have to ask...if you vote, do you still believe in the process? Is there information available to you allows you to make an informed opinion? Or do you feel like the smiley baby with the flag?

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