Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

’tis a gift to be free

August 5, 2011

Went and did my civic duty yesterday, voting in the metro mayor and council election. Got to wear my boastful “I voted” sticker on the way out, feeling briefly and cheaply more democratic than at least 60% of my peers. That’s not the best reason for voting, but it’s not the worst either.

I hadn’t planned to vote in this election, there weren’t any closely-contested races and I really don’t have strong views about the Nashville Fairgrounds. But then my morning walk brought me past my precinct polling station, and that old plebiscitary  pull had me again.

So I came home, googled the candidates and issues, did my research. There were a few goofballs in the running. One “J. Wooten” (I was hoping he might be the same Wooten I knew from the girls’ elementary school gym class, but no) ran on this platform:

1. End property taxes. Put your money back into your pockets instead of government.

2. Separate state from school. Education is too important to be left to politicians and bureaucrats.

3. Legalize the “Lap Dance.” Government should not be regulating adult behavior behind closed doors.

I don’t expect he won, but keeping the goofballs on the sidelines (no matter how well they “represent” the general public)  is one very good reason to make the effort to cast an informed vote in these ho-hum elections. When sensible people don’t participate, tea partiers (speaking generically here) still will.

Concluding my electoral research, the inertia of the day then took over and I kinda forgot about it. Late in the afternoon, though, Younger Daughter and I were driving home and there they still were, all those enthusiastic campaigners with their signs and flags waving, keeping their constitutional distance from the ballot box. Their enthusiasm was infectious. So I went in, but the line was longer than expected so I ran her home, then hopped on my bike (I’ve embraced the Pedaling Revolution manifesto: short trips and errands really don’t require tons of steel) and went back to exercise my democratic birthright.

Our politics are still as screwed up as ever, but if I had stayed home I wouldn’t feel quite as entitled to complain about it. Or as invested in fixing it. Chris Stevens understands.

And so too, perhaps, does J. Wooten, the lap dance candidate whose platform also included this unconventional plank: Freedom is the answer. What’s the question? Congratulations, Mayor.



November 2, 2010

It’s election day, and exam day, and a day for more midterm presentations and essays from everyone else. In honor of freedom and the vote, here’s my favorite radio philosopher Chris Stevens, celebrating electoral democracy. Worst form of government ever, except for all the others.

(This is pre-Palin Alaska, btw. Not the “real America.”)

Thursday we’ll pick it up again in Intro with Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Rousseau, and Adam Smith (et al), the flip-side of the classic rationalist-empiricist coin. They would agree: you shouldn’t shun the franchise or take it for granted. Go to the polls and vote. Show ’em, like Uncle Roy showed Nixon. If you don’t, just don’t complain to me when they start chucking your tea into the harbor.

Meanwhile, I’ll try to bury the abruptly-terminated baseball season– my Giants won!— and warm up the hot stove for the long season of my sports-discontent. At least it carried me to November this year. Pitchers and catchers report in mid-February, but the big annual baseball symposium at my school that’s become the  surest sign of Spring isn’t ’til April!

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.

Somehow, the summer seemed to slip by faster this time. Maybe it wasn’t this summer, but all the summers… “The Green Fields of the Mind

Guess I might as well get started on that stack of grading. Bring it on.